A “historic” and deadly five-alarm fire swept through a New York City apartment building Thursday night killing a dozen residents and leaving several more in fighting for their lives.
In a news conference Friday morning, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro shared the tragic news that the blaze is believed to have started after a three year old was playing with a stove in an apartment on the first floor of the five-story building. The fire soon engulfed the entire structure, which included 25 apartments, taking the lives of people on each floor.
FDNY Fire Marshals found that this fire started in the kitchen on the first floor. It started from a young boy, 3 ½ years old, playing with burners on the stove –#FDNY Commissioner Nigro on fatal 5th alarm at 2363 Prospect Ave #Bronx
— FDNY (@FDNY) December 29, 2017
Nigro told reporters that the young boy was fiddling around with a stove when the fire broke out around 7 p.m. on Thursday. Upon seeing sparks, the mother of the child left the apartment with her two children, leaving the door open which allowed the blaze to spread quickly.
The fire took the lives of 12 people, including four children aged one, two, and seven, and an unidentified boy. An official statement from the New York City Mayor’s Office, said five people were pronounced dead at the scene, while seven others died after being transported to area hospitals. Half of the victims remain unidentified but one is believed to be a United States Army soldier who returned home earlier just last week to spend Christmas with his family.
Here is the official statement on the fatal fire in the Bronx pic.twitter.com/sxVtiNp0sV
— New York City Alerts (@NYCityAlerts) December 29, 2017
According to the FDNY, the tragedy marks the worst loss of life caused by fire in New York City, since 87 people were killed in a night club fire in the Bronx in 1990. In a tweet on Thursday night, the commissioner shared that the blaze was “without question, historic in its magnitude.”
“Our hearts go out to every family who lost a loved one here and everyone fighting for their lives,” he continued.
This tragedy is, without question, historic in its magnitude. Our hearts go out to every family who lost a loved one here and everyone fighting for their lives –#FDNY Commissioner Nigro
— FDNY (@FDNY) December 29, 2017
According to the Associated Press, 170 firefighters worked in 15 degree temperatures to fight the flames and rescue more than a dozen people from the burning building. First responders were on the scene within three minutes of the initial 911 call, but the freezing temperatures and wind made it difficult to get the flames under control.
As WCBS reported, the Red Cross was tending to survivors and offering shelter at a nearby school. Speaking with reporters at the scene Thursday night, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio asked New Yorkers to hold their families close and extend their thoughts and prayers to the victims and first responders who so heroically responded.
“Tonight, here in the Bronx, there are families that have been torn apart. This is the worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city in at least a quarter-century,” he said. “Hold your families close and keep these families here in the Bronx in your prayers.”
(H/T: Fox News)