A huge fire in a Bronx building in New York City has left at least 19 people dead on Sunday, including nine children.
A total of 63 people were injured in the fire, and 32 were taken to hospitals in “life threatening,” Daniel Nigro, head of the NYC Fire Department, told reporters. One of the firefighters was also injured. Many of the injuries were caused by secondhand smoke.
Nigro said a 19-story house, at 333 East 181st Street, caught fire around 11am. The fire broke out in a second house shared between the second and third rooms of the building, officials said. The door to the room was left open, allowing smoke and flames to spread quickly throughout the house.
About 200 firefighters were on the scene. Nigro said the crew arrived just minutes later and found the victims “down with all the steps” in “heart and breathing”.
“They met on the street with this fire, a lot of smoke, a big fire,” Nigro said. “The units pushed in. The smoke filled the whole house, which is not uncommon.”
Authorities say the fire was “dropped” meaning most of the fire had been closed. The reason is still unknown.
The fire is one of the deadliest fires in recent American history. A fire in a Philadelphia home killed a family of 12, including eight children, on Monday. Authorities are investigating whether the fire broke out because of a child playing with a lighter near a Christmas tree.
“These figures are alarming,” New York mayor Eric Adams told reporters Sunday afternoon. “This will be one of the worst fires we have seen these days.”