Fordham Heights Bronx apartment fire caused by space heater leaves 19 dead, including nine children as blaze leaves up to 63 people suffering injuries.
NYC officials are citing an electric space heater for sparking a fire at a Bronx apartment complex in Fordham Heights that killed at least 19 people, including nine children circa 11am Sunday morning. The number of fatalities were expected to rise with scores badly injured.
The fire originated in a duplex on the second and third floors of the building but never extended past the unit and the hallway nearest the apartment, FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro stated. Smoke generated from the duplex blaze was able to filter out through an open door and spread throughout the 19-story structure, the official explained.
‘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,’ Nigro said during a Sunday press briefing.
Asked whether people knew how to escape, Nigro said: ‘On buildings like this there are no fire escapes. There are interior stairways. So people would have been aware of the exits.
‘I think some of them could not escape due to the volume of smoke.’ He added: ‘Members found victims on every floor, in stairwells.’
East 164th Street, Bronx. Two people were injured, 1 critically during a 2 Alarm fire in the bronx. Fire Marshals will determine the cause. pic.twitter.com/9SOvmKvfcw
— CityStreetsLive (@streets_live) October 13, 2021
One of the worse fires in NYC in 3 decades
Hours earlier, the commissioner and NYC’s Mayor Eric Adams revealed that 63 people had suffered varying injuries. Thirty-two had been hospitalized with life-threatening injuries and another nine had injuries that were serious. Of those, 19 had died.
The overwhelming majority of the fire’s victims were suffering from severe smoke inhalation, Nigro said. Firefighters rushing into the building discovered victims on all nearly every floor of the building — many found experiencing cardiac and respiratory arrest.
Names and ages of the victims have not been disclosed, but fire officials confirmed that of the 19 dead, nine were children.
‘This is going to be one of the worst fires we have witnessed here in modern times in the City of New York,’ Adams said the first press conference, hours after the smoke tore through the building.
Nineteen people were killed, including nine children, and dozens of others were injured in an apartment-building fire in the Bronx, according to city officials and local media https://t.co/z05H6WvaG8 pic.twitter.com/2SFM9ldfft
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 9, 2022
Fire deemed not suspicious
‘There were certainly people trapped in their apartments all through this building,’ Nigro said, calling the smoke conditions ‘unprecedented.’ He said it was ‘unusual’ that the smoke extended the entire length of the building.
The department estimates 200 of its members responded to the 19-story residential building on East 181st Street in Fordham Heights around 11 a.m. By 1 p.m., the department had the 5-alarm fire knocked down.
Firefighters rescued countless residents of the high-rise structure by evacuating them through windows and climbing down ladders. Several of the members, the commissioner said, ran out of oxygen in the course of conducting rescues and continued operations without oxygen.
Nigro and Adams called Sunday’s disaster one of the worst fires in the city in at least three decades. More than 30 years ago, on March, 25, 1990, a fire was intentionally set at the Happy Land social club in the Bronx and 87 people were killed.
Fire marshals are on hand investigating the cause of the fire, but the commissioner said he doesn’t believe investigators will deem the source suspicious.