An electric space heater caused the city's worst fire in over 30 years.
New York City has witnessed the worst fire in over 30 years in which 19 people have died that included 9 children, reports PEOPLE. The incident happened in the Bronx on Sunday. Mayor Eric Adams talked about the traumatic incident, "This is going to be one of the worst fires we have witnessed in modern times here in the City of New York." He also confirmed in the first press conference that there were 9 children among the victims of the fire who died after succumbing to their injuries, as per NBC New York.
At a second press conference conducted on Sunday afternoon in which the FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro said, "This fire began in an apartment that spans two floors, on the second and third floors of the building. It started in a malfunctioning electric space heater; that was the cause of the fire,", per NBC New York.
New videos shows smoke pouring out of an apartment building in New York City from a massive fire that killed at least 19 people. including nine children, according to officials. https://t.co/JPO13Cafbv pic.twitter.com/mlsK9BCE98— ABC News (@ABC) January 9, 2022
Dan Nigro added, "The fire consumed that apartment that is on two floors and part of the hallway. The door to that apartment, unfortunately, when the residents left, was left open. It did not close by itself. The smoke spread throughout the building, thus the tremendous loss of life and other people fighting for their lives right now all over the Bronx." According to the Commissioner, The first responders responded within three minutes of getting the call about the fire that had consumed a duplex residence on East 181st Street in Fordham Heights on Sunday. Around 11 a.m. local time, almost 200 personnel of the New York City Fire Department responded to the catastrophe.
My God, this New York fire disaster in the Bronx is so heartbreakingly horrendous.. at least 19 people dead including NINE children. Many others in critical condition, & it could have so many more without the incredible heroism, once again, of NYC's brilliant fire-fighters. pic.twitter.com/1w4fA7YJXo— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 9, 2022
Nigro added that when firefighters reached the first hallway, they were faced with "very heavy smoke and very heavy fire". "This smoke extended the entire height of the building," he said. He said that this smoke covered the entire building and it was an unusual event. According to Nigro, firemen rescued victims from all levels of the building, many of whom were suffering from cardiac and respiratory arrest as a result of smoke inhalation. The fire was extinguished soon before 1 p.m. local time.
According to officials, at least 32 individuals were brought to at least five Bronx hospitals with life-threatening injuries, and another nine were seriously injured. One military member was also brought to the hospital for an unspecified cause. At least 22 additional persons were injured in non-life-threatening ways as a result of the fire.
BREAKING: A malfunctioning electric space heater caused the apartment fire that killed 19 people in New York City, the fire commissioner says. https://t.co/qrv9tkj6qm— The Associated Press (@AP) January 9, 2022
The Commissioner specified that this is an extremely rare and tragic incident. According to local officials, the American Red Cross has rushed in to support victims of the incident. The police department is trying to spread awareness regarding the measures city residents can take to avoid incidents like these. The Commissioner said in the press conference, "We've spread the word: Close the door. Close the door. If you leave your apartment, the door should close behind you automatically, but it doesn't always. But if you close the door, the smoke and fire spread is contained within that apartment instead of spreading out into the hall and up the stairs, and that's what happened here, again."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images / Scott Heins / Stringer