A major fire in a residential apartment building in the Bronx in New York City on Sunday left 19 people dead, including 9 children, in what Mayor Eric Adams described as one of the worst fires the city has experienced in modern times.
The blaze sent 32 people to hospitals with life-threatening conditions, Daniel Nigro, commissioner of the New York City Fire Department, said earlier Sunday. A total of 63 people were injured.
A “malfunctioning electric space heater” was the source of the fire, Nigro said during a press conference. The heater was in the bedroom of an apartment, and the fire consumed the room and then the entire apartment, he said.
The apartment door was left open and smoke spread throughout the building when the residents left their unit, Nigro said.
“This is a horrific, horrific, painful moment for the city of New York, and the impact of this fire is going to really bring a level of just pain and despair in our city,” Adams said.
About 200 members of the New York City Fire Department responded to the fire at the 19-story building at 333 East 181st Street. The fire began a little before 11 a.m. in a duplex apartment on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building, the FDNY said.
Firefighters were met by “very heavy smoke, very heavy fire” in the hallways.