A New York apartment complex fire has killed at least 19 people, including nine children.
According to New York Mayor Eric Adams, another 32 people were taken to the hospital, with several of them in critical condition.
Commissioner Daniel Nigro of the fire department claimed that they had identified deaths on every floor of the 19-story building, claiming that the smoke was “unprecedented.”
According to NBC News, the death toll was the highest in New York in 30 years.
It comes just days after a fire in a Philadelphia apartment killed 12 people, including eight children.
Officials said the fire started around 11:00 a.m. local time (16:00 a.m. GMT) in an apartment on the second and third floors of the Bronx apartment building.
A total of 200 firefighters were dispatched to put out the fire, which officials believe was started by a faulty electric heater.
Commissioner Nigro stated that the fire was on two levels but that the smoke had spread throughout the area.
Commissioner Nigro said the door to the flat where the fire started was left open, and smoke spread to every floor.
“Members spotted victims in stairwells on every floor and were removing them in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” he claimed.
According to George King, people were waving from the windows as the flames took hold, who lives nearby.
He claimed, “I noticed the smoke, and a lot of people were scared.” “It was obvious that no one wanted to jump from the building.”
A total of 63 people were injured, with 32 of them being taken to the hospital. According to Stefan Ringel, a senior assistant to the mayor, thirteen people are in critical condition.
Mr. Adams told reporters, “The impact of this catastrophe will bring a level of anguish and sadness to our community.” “The figures are terrible.”
Kathy Hochul, the governor of New York, described Sunday’s events as “a night of sorrow” and offered to establish a victims’ compensation fund to assist survivors.
“Because that’s what we do here in New York,” Ms. Hochul added, “there will be money to find new housing, funeral costs, and everything else we need.”
The Bronx neighborhood where the fire broke out is home to a large Muslim immigrant population, and many of those who were displaced by the fire are thought to have arrived in the United States from the Gambia.
Mr. Adams urged anyone affected by the fire, regardless of immigration status, to seek help from the authorities. He promised that no one’s personal information would be shared with immigration authorities.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who spoke alongside Mr. Adams, pledged to provide immigration support to allow grieving families to come together.
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The structure contains a large number of affordable housing apartments, and the fire is expected to raise concerns about the quality of such housing in the city.
Representative Ritchie Torres, a Democratic politician whose district includes the building, told MSNBC in the United States that events like the Bronx fire pose a threat to people’s safety.
“We are putting lives at risk when we allow our affordable housing developments to be plagued by decades of disinvestment,” Mr. Torres added.
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