Fire in New York: Most Dangerous in the Last 30 Years

9:33 am  |  11.01.2022

At least 19 people were killed in one of New York’s worst fires, including nine children. The fire broke out on one of the lower floors of a high-rise building. Mayor Eric Adams speaks of a tragedy. Survivors report screaming children.

In one of the worst fires in New York’s recent history, at least 19 people died in the Bronx – nine of them were children. “The numbers are terrible,” said Mayor Eric Adams, who spoke of a “tragedy”. It is assumed that the number of deaths could rise even further in view of the over 60 mostly life-threatening injuries. Fire brigade chief Daniel Nigro named a broken electrical heater as the cause of the fire.

Fireman Daniel A. Nigro was shocked at the press conference


“It all started with a defective electrical room heater,” says Nigro. “The fire has spread in the apartment, which extends over two floors.” In addition, the door of the apartment in the lower part of the building was open so that deadly smoke could spread throughout the 19-story building.

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The people were trapped in their apartments or in the stairwell by smoke. The firefighters found victims on every floor, many with severe smoke inhalation.

One of the residents of the building told how he heard people on the run shouting “Help, help, help”. While his children were unharmed, his neighbor’s children were killed in the fire.

“Everyone had their families here in the building”

He usually takes them all to school every morning, but now that will never happen again. “What am I going to tell my children now?” He said through tears. “Tomorrow is a school day, you will ask me where your friends are.”

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Dilenny Rodriguez described hearing children scream. She herself was in her apartment when she noticed the smoke. She and her daughter waited in the bedroom until firefighters knocked on the door and walked down the stairs with them. “The bad thing was when we went down the stairs and we saw a corpse and dead dogs. We couldn’t do anything, ”she said. They mourn their neighbors. “Everyone had their families here in the building.”

A firefighter rescues a baby on a ladder

Source: via REUTERS

The fire broke out on Sunday morning (local time) on a cold, wet New York winter day. After a large-scale deployment of around 200 firefighters, it was extinguished in a few hours.

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Videos on social media showed images of thick smoke billowing through broken windows. Firefighters used ladders to get residents out of the house. According to Mayor Adams, firefighters searched for survivors even after they ran out of oxygen.

Rescue workers 

Source: AP / Yuki Iwamura

Hours after the fire in the heart of the Bronx, the scene of the accident was still illuminated by blue lights. Hundreds of police, fire brigade, and special teams continued the search for clues. An adjoining school was opened for the burn victims to provide accommodation for the now homeless.

The building is a block of flats for socially disadvantaged families with adjusted rents. The Bronx is the poorest district in New York with an income of its residents well below the average of the US east coast metropolis.

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Firefighters on site: The fire broke out in a 19-story building in the Bronx

The disaster marks one of the worst fires in New York’s recent history. In 1990, 87 people were killed in a fire in the Happy Land Social Club in the Bronx. The fire has been attributed to arson. As recently as Wednesday, a fire in a residential building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, killed twelve people, including eight children. The fire broke out on the middle floor of a three-story apartment building.

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New York Mayor Adams also said it was likely to be one of the worst fires “we have seen in recent times”. The high number of deaths is “terrible”. Investigators initially did not assume a crime in the fire in the Twin Park Apartments. The investigation is ongoing, it said.

Just a few days ago, a fire in a house in the city of Philadelphia killed twelve people, including eight children.

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