12 Dead In Massive Blaze At Bronx Apartment Building

From Huffington Post Site.

At least 12 people, including four children, died in a massive fire at a five-story apartment building in the Bronx Thursday night in what New York’s mayor called the city’s deadliest fire in at least 25 years.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who confirmed the death toll, said at least four other people were critically injured. Firefighters, working on a bitterly cold night, rescued a dozen people and took more than four hours to quell the wind-whipped blaze. The cause wasn’t immediately determined.

Among the dead were three girls, ages 1, 2 and 7; an unidentified boy; three women, ages 19, 37 and 63; four unidentified men; and one unidentified woman, police said.

De Blasio, speaking at a Bronx news conference about 10 p.m., called it “the worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city in at least a quarter-century.” The mayor tweeted that the New York Fire Department rescued at least 12 people, who will survive. The fire was put out around 11:15 p.m.

The fire began on the building’s first floor just before 7 p.m., New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. According to records found on the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development website, the building had six open violations, including one for a carbon monoxide detection device in an apartment on the first floor.

“This tragedy is without question historic in its magnitude,” Nigro told reporters. He said tenants “died on various floors” of the building.

A Fire Department spokesman told HuffPost that Thursday night’s frigid weather made fighting the fire more difficult. Temperatures in New York City hovered around 11 degrees, with 9 mph winds. According to Yahoo’s weather app, temperatures in the city felt like minus 2 degrees when factoring in windchill.

“The cold temperatures and wind make it more of a challenge,” the spokesman said. “There’s ice conditions with the water on the ground. It’s tough on the families, more difficult on the firefighters, everything.”

 

Xanral Collins, who witnessed the fire, told the New York Post he saw a man run into the building yelling for his children. “He couldn’t get in,” Collins told the Post. “I saw him screaming, ‘My babies are dead! My babies are dead!’”

The Fire Department said more than 160 firefighters fought the blaze.

Fire officials briefed De Blasio after he arrived at a school across the street from the building around 9:30 p.m.

 

New York Daily News initially reported that the fire started on the third floor, but Nigro later confirmed it was the first floor. The building has 25 apartment units. Victims were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital and Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.

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