At Least 12 Dead in Fire Near Fordham in the Bronx

Dec 31, 2017, 01:00
At Least 12 Dead in Fire Near Fordham in the Bronx

The New York City Fire Department initially said 15 civilians were seriously injured in the blaze.

New York City's deadliest residential fire in decades apparently began as a child played with a stove then spread quickly throughout a Bronx apartment building, killing 12 people and leaving four others fighting for their lives.

Police and relatives have identified five of the victims in the blaze on Prospect Avenue near East 187th Street, which is near the Bronx Zoo: 2- and 7-year-old Kylie and Charmela Francis, and their 37-year-old mother Karen Francis; 19-year-old Shantay Young; and 58-year-old Maria Batiz.

"The mother was not aware of it, was alerted by the young man screaming", said Daniel Nigro, commissioner for the New York City Fire Department. Batiz, who lived in the building, was at work when the fire started just before 7 p.m.

Four people also remain in critical condition in area hospitals, according to officials. "But when you have this number of people pass as a result of a disaster like this, it's heartbreaking", de Vulpillieres said.

"We found this fire started in a kitchen on the first floor".

"I opened the door and it was pitch black", Rodriguez said.

Authorities said the flames broke out on the first floor of the building and quickly spread up through the five-story, 25-unit structure. She said the last text she had gotten from her mother, who lives in the building, was that she was trapped in her third floor apartment.

It took first responders only three minutes to arrive, but not in time to prevent a tragedy caused by a 3-year-old toddler playing with the stove.

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"I came out through the window".

Unsettling video footage shows the burned out hallway and stairwell inside the Bronx apartment building where 12 people died in a horrific fire on Thursday.

"I thought maybe he was coming back", said his father, Kwabena Mensah, according to CBS News.

"If I had picked up the phone, she would have been over here all day", he told The Associated Press. Others were helped out onto the fire escapes, taken down by our members, ' he added.

"In a department that's certainly no stranger to tragedy, we're shocked by this loss", Nigro said.

"Right now, it's a memorial", he said. And the Thursday night blaze was New York City's deadliest since a blaze at a Bronx club killed 87 people in 1990.

Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN that the apartment building is believed to be more than 100 years old. "The building is gone", he said. A fire in a home in another part of the Bronx killed 10 people, including nine children, in 2007.

A 28-year-old soldier who's been missing since the fire, Emmanuel Mensah, is desperately being sought by family and friends.