A 3-year-old playing with a stove accidentally started the deadliest fire in New York City in more than 25 years, officials said Friday.
According to city officials, New York City’s deadliest residential fire in decades spread through every floor of a Bronx apartment building within a matter of minutes, killing 12 people and injuring many others.
The fire began in the kitchen of a first-floor apartment just before 7 p.m. when the boy’s mother was in the other room, Fire Commissioner Daniel P. Nigro told reporters.
The mother was alerted by the child’s screams and fled the apartment with the boy and another young child, leaving the door open, Nigro said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a briefing that the dead include a child around a year old, adding that four more people were fighting for their lives.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro called the fire, “historic in its magnitude,” because of the number of lives lost.
Some tenants of the building, a mix of native New Yorkers and Latino and African immigrants, climbed down fire escapes. But the flames moved so fast that many never made it out of their apartments. The victims died from burns and smoke inhalation.
The cause of the fire still remained under investigation. About 170 firefighters worked in bone-chilling cold, just 15 degrees, to rescue about a dozen people from the building.
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