Bronx building fire kills 19, including 9 children

The blaze sent 32 people to life-threatening hospitals, New York City Fire Marshal Daniel Nigro said on Sunday. A total of 63 people were injured.

A “faulty electric heater” was behind the blaze, Nigro told a press conference. The heater was in the bedroom of an apartment and the fire consumed the room and then the whole apartment, he said.

The apartment door was left open and smoke spread throughout the building as residents left their accommodation, Nigro said.

“This is a horrible, horrible and painful time for New York City, and the impact of this fire is really going to bring a level of pain and desperation to our city,” Adams said.

About 200 members of the New York City Fire Department responded to the fire at the 19-story building at 333 East 181st Street. The fire broke out a little before 11 a.m. in a duplex apartment on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building, said the FDNY.

The firefighters were greeted by “very thick smoke, a very intense fire” in the corridors.

Victims were found on the stairs on every floor of the building, many in cardiac arrest, which Nigro said could be an unprecedented loss of life. The injuries were mainly due to smoke inhalation, he said.

Firefighters continued to try to save people from the building despite the lack of an air tank, Nigro said. Some of the residents who tried to leave the building were unable to “escape due to the volume of smoke.”

The FDNY released several images of the scene showing ladders extending into apartment windows as well as a number of shattered windows.

“This will be one of the worst fires we’ve seen in modern times here in New York City,” Adams said.

“I am horrified by the devastating fire in the Bronx today,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said on Twitter. “My heart is with the loved ones of all we have tragically lost, all of those affected and with our heroic FDNY firefighters. The whole of New York State stands in solidarity with New York City.”

The residential apartment where the fire occurred is 50 years old and has 120 units, according to building records.

There have been no major building violations or any documented complaints against the building, according to city building records. Past minor violations have been rectified by the facility and no structural violations have been identified.

Apartment fire affects Muslim and immigrant community

The building where the fire occurred housed a largely Muslim population, Adams said, along with many immigrants from Gambia, a small nation on the west coast of Africa.

The mayor said a priority will be to ensure that Islamic funeral and funeral rites are observed. Another will be to seek out Muslim leaders to connect with residents.

The names of people requesting government assistance will not be disclosed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Adams added.

“We want people to feel comfortable coming forward, and it is imperative that we connect with those on the ground to make sure they get that message and that word out,” Adams said.

Christina Farrell, New York’s first deputy emergency management commissioner, told CNN’s Phil Mattingly on Sunday that residents who lived in the building are now housed at a nearby college.

“We have all the residents here. We were able to give them food, warm space, water, whatever short term needs they had. People brought their pets and so we are in. finding shelters for people tonight, ”Farrell said. “We are working with the Red Cross, we have hotel rooms and other resources available. So we will make sure that every family has a safe and warm space to sleep tonight.”

A service center will be set up on Monday, Farrell said.

“We hope that many of them can return to their apartments in the next few days,” she said. “But for those people who are long-term absent, we will work with them and the state to provide them with appropriate housing.”

Hochul, at a press conference on Sunday, said he had met survivors of the blaze, including a mother who was the only survivor in her family.

“It is impossible to enter this room, where there are dozens of families who are in such grief, who are in pain, and to see it in the eyes of the mother as I hold her, who has lost her whole family. “she said.

As she prepares her new budget this week, Hochul said she would establish a compensation fund to help provide victims of the blaze with money for housing, burial costs and more. necessities.

“Tonight is a night of tragedy and pain, and tomorrow we start to rebuild,” Hochul said. “We are rebuilding their lives and giving them hope, especially those who came from Africa [from] The Gambia in search of a better life right here in this great part of the Bronx. “

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also spoke at the conference and said many forms of assistance were under consideration at the federal level and would include housing and tax assistance as well as ‘immigration assistance, “so that families can be reunited”.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the region where The Gambia is located. It is in West Africa.

CNN’s Brynn Gingras contributed to this report.

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