Grave wound remains after NYC fire killed 19 people



Hospitals worked Monday to save the lives of several people seriously injured by smoke in a fire that killed 19 people, including nine children, in a Bronx apartment building.

Dozens of people have been hospitalized and 13 are in critical condition after Sunday’s fire, which was New York City’s deadliest in three decades.

Investigators determined that a malfunctioning electric space heater, plugged in to provide extra heat on a cold morning, caused the fire in the 19-story building.

The fire damaged only a small part of the building, but smoke escaped from the apartment’s open door and rose through the stairs and hallways, trapping many people in their apartments and leaving others dead. ability to work when they run away.

Many children who limp are given oxygen after they are carried out. The evacuees had their faces covered in soot.

Firefighters found victims on every floor, many in cardiac arrest and respiratory arrest, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. Some could not get out due to the large amount of smoke, he said.

Mayor Eric Adams said firefighters continued to carry out rescues even as their aviation supplies were depleted.

“Their tanks were empty and they were still pushing smoke out,” Adams said.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said an investigation was underway to determine how widespread the fire was and whether anything could be done to contain or contain the blaze.

The building is equipped with smoke alarms, but some residents said they initially ignored them because alarms were so common in the 120-unit building.

New, large apartment buildings in the city are required to have sprinkler systems and interior doors that automatically close to block smoke and remove oxygen from the fire, but those rules don’t apply to thousands of buildings the old house of the city.

The smoke turned the stairs – the only mode of flight in a building too high to escape the fire – into a terror as dark as ashes.

Building resident Sandra Clayton hugged her dog Mocha and ran for her life when she saw the smoke-filled hallway and heard people screaming, “Get out! Get out!”

Clayton, 61, said she groped down a darkened flight of stairs, hugging Mocha tightly. The smoke was so black she couldn’t see it, but she could hear the wailing of nearby neighbors.

Clayton recalled from a hospital where she was treated for smoke inhalation: “I just ran down the stairs as much as I could but people were all over me and screaming.

During the commotion, her dog slipped from her grasp and was later found dead in the stairs.

Jose Henriquez, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who lives on the 10th floor, said the building’s fire alarms regularly went off but turned out to be false.

“It looks like they went out today, but people weren’t paying attention,” Henriquez said in Spanish.

He and his family stayed behind, covering a wet towel underneath the door when they realized the smoke in the hall would overwhelm them if they tried to flee.

Luis Rosa said he also thought it was a false alarm at first. When he opened the door to his 13th-floor apartment, the smoke was so thick he couldn’t see down the hallway. “So I said, OK, we can’t run downstairs because if we run downstairs, we’ll suffocate.”

“All we can do is wait,” he said.

The fire was New York City’s deadliest since 1990, when 87 people died in the arson of the Happy Land social club, also in the Bronx. The area was also the site of a deadly apartment fire in 2017 that killed 13 people, and a 2007 fire, also started by a space heater, that killed nine people.


Associated Press reporters Michael R. Sisak and Jennifer Peltz in New York and Andrew Selsky in Salem, Oregon, contributed to this report.

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Aila Slisco

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