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19 dead, including 9 children, in NYC apartment fire

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By MICHAEL R. SISAK, JENNIFER PELTZ and DAVID PORTER

NEW YORK (AP) – At least 19 people, including nine children, died in Sunday’s fire at a Bronx apartment building, one of the worst New York City fires in many decade, officials said.

Mayor Eric Adams called the fire “terrible.”

“This is going to be one of the worst fires we have ever seen in modern times,” he said.

The death toll was confirmed by Stefan Ringel, a senior adviser to Adams. A city official who was not authorized to speak publicly confirmed the number of children killed.

More than 5 dozen people were injured and 13 remain in critical condition in hospital, Ringel said. Most of the victims suffered severe smoke inhalation, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said at a news conference early that afternoon.

Firefighters “found victims on every floor and are taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” he said at the afternoon briefing. “It is unprecedented in our city. We anticipate more deaths.”

According to the FDNY, about 200 firefighters responded to the scene Sunday at the Twin Park Apartments, a 19-story building on East 181st Street.

Photographers on the scene captured firefighters entering the upper floors of the burning building using ladders, many limping children being given oxygen after being carried from the building and evacuees with their faces covered in soot.

Nigro compared the fire’s severity to the Happy Land social club fire, which killed 87 people in 1990 when a man set fire to the building after an argument with his ex-girlfriend and kicked out of the club.

According to Nigro, Sunday’s fire started in a penthouse that spans the second and third floors. He said firefighters found the door of the apartment open, which appears to have allowed the fire to accelerate and rapidly spread the smoke upwards.

The fire is not believed to be of questionable origin but the cause is under investigation.

One resident of the building, Cristal Diaz, 27, told the New York Post she was drinking coffee in her living room when she smelled smoke.

“We started pouring water on the towels and the bottom of the door. Everything was crazy,” she said. “We didn’t know what to do. We looked out the window and saw all the corpses they were carrying with blankets.”

Sunday’s fire comes just days after a home fire in Philadelphia that killed 12 people – including eight children – was the deadliest fire at an apartment building in the US since 2017 when Thirteen people died in an apartment in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association. That fire started after a 3-year-old boy played with the stove.

The previous deadliest fire was in 1989 when an apartment building fire in Tennessee claimed the lives of 16 people.

https://www.twincities.com/2022/01/09/19-dead-including-9-children-in-nyc-apartment-fire/ 19 dead, including 9 children, in NYC apartment fire

Yasmin Harisha

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