At least 19 people, including 9 children, were killed when a fire ripped through a Bronx apartment building on Sunday, becoming the city’s deadliest blaze in more than three decades as a result.
The death toll was confirmed by Stefan Ringel, a senior adviser to Mayor Eric Adams, who confirmed the number of deaths. He stated that the children who were killed were 16 years old or less.
According to Ringel, thirteen people were still in critical condition at the hospital. A total of more than five dozen people were injured in the incident. According to Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, the majority of the victims suffered from severe smoke inhalation.
Deputy Secretary of State John Adams called the fire’s death toll “horrific” and said that “this is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times.
In Nigro’s words, firefighters “found victims on every floor and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest.” That is unprecedented in our city, says the mayor.
Around 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, approximately 200 firefighters were dispatched to the building on E. 181st Street in the Bronx. According to initial reports, the fire was located on the third floor of the 19-story building, with flames bursting through the windows of the building.
Nigro said the fire on Sunday began in a duplex apartment on the second and third floors of the building where it started. Firefighters discovered the apartment door open, according to him, which appeared to have allowed the fire to quickly accelerate and spread smoke upward, he said.
Officials have stated that the fire is not believed to be suspicious, but that the cause is still under investigation.
The Twin Parks North West complex, which contains a 120-unit building, was constructed in 1973 as part of a larger project to provide modern, affordable housing in the Bronx.
In their respective statements, Nigro and Torres compared the severity of the fire to the 1990 blaze at the Happy Land social club in the Bronx, which resulted in the deaths of 87 people when a man set fire to the building after getting into an argument with his ex-girlfriend and being thrown out of the Bronx club.
The death toll from the fire on Sunday was the highest for a fire in the city since the Happy Land fire in 1989. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association, it was also the deadliest fire in a residential apartment building in the United States since a fire in a Bronx apartment building killed 13 people in 2017.
Because of the fire, which was started by a 3-year-old boy, who was playing with stove burners, several laws have been enacted in New York City, including requiring the fire department to develop a plan for educating children and their families on the importance of fire safety and requiring certain residential buildings to install self-closing doors.
There have been no arrests made and the investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to call the NYPD‘s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1–800–577–TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1–888–57–PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers‘ website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
All tips will be kept strictly confidential.