The Commissioner of the Fire Department, Daniel A. Nigro, said tonight at a press conference that the fire registered in the Bronx occurred due to the failure of an electric heater in a bedroom on the second floor.
“The fire consumed the apartment and part of the corridor. The door was open and that is why the smoke spread rapidly throughout the building, causing the death of so many people, ”he said.
When asked about the smoke detectors, he said that precisely “the first call for help that was received was thanks to the fact that a neighbor heard the alarm sounding.”
The fire registered this Sunday in a residential building in the Bronx, left at least 19 fatalities, including nine children.
New York Fire Chief Dan Nigro also said it is the most serious in recent New York history.
For its part, Mayor Eric Adams noted that the victims could include numerous Gambians, as this is an area of the Bronx where this African community is the majority, and he promised that everyone will have a burial according to the Muslim ritual and respecting their traditions.
At the moment, the figures of 19 dead (9 of them minors) and 30 hospitalized, some of them in very serious condition, are maintained, so the death toll could increase.
One of the residents in the building told CNN that the building had a fire alarm that did not work well and that it went off frequently, almost always for no apparent reason, which could contribute to the fact that today the residents of the 120 apartments that They are in the 19-story block and they won’t take it seriously.
Asked about it, the fire chief could not confirm that point but did say that his department received a first warning shortly after the fire broke out and arrived at the scene three minutes later.
Two hundred firefighters participated in the task of evacuating the victims, who are being rehoused in nearby hotels and other public buildings, said Nigro, noting that his men continued to evacuate intoxicated even after they ran out of air.
The fire originated in a duplex room between the second and third floors, and upon exiting the apartment, its occupants left the door open, contributing to the rapid spread of flames and smoke, which easily climbed the remaining floors of the building.
The fire broke out around 11 a.m. in an apartment located on the second floor of the building, a 19-story tower with 120 houses.
Firefighters found victims “on all floors,” many in cardiac and respiratory arrest, Nigro told reporters.
Nigro compared it to the 1990 fire at the Happy Land club, in which 87 people perished and which is the greatest tragedy of its kind in recent New York history.
The worst fire on record in the Big Apple took place in 1911 in a factory in southern Manhattan, killing 146 people.
“The figures are horrible,” added Adams, who today experienced the first great drama of his term as mayor, which began on January 1.
Today’s is the second major fire registered by the United States this week, after the one that occurred on Wednesday in a residential building in Philadelphia, in which twelve people died, including eight children.
In the Bronx, numerous residents were evacuated by firefighters through the building’s windows, as could be seen in collected images published on social networks and according to several survivors told local media.
“I was yelling: help me! Please come and get us! ”Wesley Patterson, a 28-year-old man who lives on the third floor of the burning building, told The New York Times who was rescued by firefighters with a ladder when his home was already full of smoke.
Cristal Diaz, another resident, told the New York Post that when she began to smell smoke she placed wet towels on the door: “We didn’t know what to do. We looked through the windows and saw all the corpses that they were taking out with sheets. “
“I am horrified by the devastating fire in The Bronx today. My heart goes out to the loved ones of all those we have tragically lost, to all those affected and to our heroic firefighters, ”New York State Governor Kathy Hochul said via Twitter.
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