A space heater is the cause of one of New York City’s deadliest fires in decades in a Bronx apartment building killing 19 people including nine children.
On Sunday morning, multiple fire alarms went off on the second and third floors of the 19-story tower apartment building in Fordham Heights at 333 East 181st Street. The New York Fire Department officials reported a malfunctioned electric space heater started the fire. Although the heat worked in the building, New York experienced cold temperatures in the 20s.
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“This is a horrific, horrific, painful moment for the City of New York, and the impact of this fire is going to really bring a level of just pain and despair in our city,” NYC Mayor Adams said at the scene. “The numbers are horrific.”
According to reports, around 200 firefighters responded to the fire. The scene left around 44 people were injured, 13 people “clinging to their lives”, and 19 people dead, including 9 children. Investigators are investigating why the smoke was so heavy and able to travel to other floors leaving others to be found in the stairwell unconscious.
“This smoke extended the entire height of the building — completely unusual,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. “Members found victims on every floor, in stairwells, and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest.”
ABC 7 says “many of the victims are Muslim immigrants from the West African nation of Gambia.”
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“We just want, right now, to give the families the support they deserve and let the marshals do their job to determine what happened here,” the mayor said.
The National Fire Protection Association says space heaters are most often responsible for home heating equipment fires.
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