January 26, 2022

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10 adults, 9 children dead in 5-alarm NYC apartment fire – NBC News

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New York City officials said 19 people died, including nine children, at the site of a five-alarm fire on Sunday in the Bronx where at least 66 people were injured.

About 200 firefighters responded to the blaze at a 19-story apartment building on East 181 Street, the New York City Fire Department said. Authorities were called to the scene at about 11 a.m. and managed to contain the flames at around 1 p.m., NBC New York reported.

Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro said he anticipated “numerous fatalities” earlier in the day.

Asked about the rumors that residents may have jumped out of windows, Nigro said it was possible that some “might have fallen from the building” trying to get onto ladders placed by firefighters. He had not heard reports of anyone’s having jumped before firefighters arrived.

Firefighters hoist a ladder to rescue people through their windows after a fire broke out Sunday in the Bronx, N.Y.Theodore Parisienne / New York Daily News/TNS
Firefighters work outside an apartment building Sunday after a fire broke out in the Bronx, N.Y.Yuki Iwamura / AP
Emergency first responders remain at the scene after a fire Sunday in the Bronx, N.Y.Scott Heins / Getty Images

“The last time we had a loss of life that may be this horrific was at a fire which was over 30 years ago, also here in the Bronx,” Nigro said.

The commissioner seemed to be referring to the 1990 Happy Land social club fire, which killed 87 people. A man who worked at the club’s coat check-in, angry at having been spurned by his former girlfriend, set the club on fire after a heated argument.

It i unclear what sparked the Sunday blaze, which the fire marshal’s office will investigate.

At least 66 people were injured, experiencing some level of smoke inhalation. The department reported that 32 of the injured had life-threatening conditions, while nine other people were described as being in “serious” condition.

Emergency first responders remain at the scene after an intense fire at a 19-story residential building that erupted Sunday morning in the Bronx, N.Y. Scott Heins / Getty Images
Firefighters respond to a fire in the Bronx, N.Y., on Sunday.New York Fire Department

Newly inducted Mayor Eric Adams was at the scene Sunday afternoon to be briefed by officials. He said the impact of the fire will bring “pain and despair” to New York.

“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 at a briefing.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted that she was “horrified.”

“My heart is with the loved ones of all those we’ve tragically lost, all of those impacted and with our heroic  @FDNY firefighters,” Hochul wrote. “The entire State of New York stands with New York City.

Recalling the terrifying experience, Some residents told NBC New York that they were taken out of the building by firefighters on ladders. Karen Dejesus, who said she lives on the third floor, was making breakfast when she began to see smoke and heard cries for help.

Jan. 9, 202201:28

“We just hovered in the back room … and next thing we know we see flames coming out the back windows and stuff,” she said. “We smelling the smoke and the next thing we know, the whole upstairs and my apartment is black and the fire department breaking in the door to come get us. We had to climb out the window and everything.”

Dejesus called the experience “so scary” but said she and her family, including a 3-year-old child, were safely evacuated.

The fire comes just days after a rowhouse in Philadelphia went up in flames, killing 12 people, eight of whom were children. Officials said none of the four battery-operated smoke detectors were working at the time.

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