The deadliest residential fire that hit New York City in decades has left 12 people dead including a 1-year-old child. Four other people are fighting for their lives from injuries caused by the fire.
The rest of the residents scrambled to seek safety outside into the cold and down fire escapes.
The fire quickly spread through every floor of a Bronx apartment building in a matter of minutes.
Fire Commissioner Daniel described the fire as “historic in its magnitude” because of the high number of lives lost. Aside of course from the horrific September 11 attacks, the Bronx fire was the worst fire in the city since 87 people were killed at a social club fire in the area in 1990.
The blaze started on the first floor of a five-story building just before 7 p.m. and quickly tore through the nearly century-old structure near the Bronx Zoo.
Some of the tenants of the building said to be a mix of native New Yorkers and Latino and African immigrants, climbed down fire escapes. Unfortunately, the flames moved so fast that many of the residents never managed to get out of their units.
Around 170 firefighters worked in the bone-chilling cold, just 15 degrees, in order to rescue nearly a dozen people from the building.
Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire. Many questions, however, remained in the immediate aftermath of the fire including how the blaze so quickly in a brick building built consciously for the purpose of avoiding fires after the tragic blazes at the turn of the 20th century and supposedly in an era of tougher enforcement of fire codes.
The building had more than 20 units. Since it was not new enough, it was required to have modern fireproofing like sprinkler systems and interior steel construction.
In 2007, a fire killed 10 people including nine children in a four-story home in another part of Bronx.
Nigro expressed his sympathies to the victims and their families. He said: “Our hearts go out to every person who lost a loved one here and everyone who is fighting for their lives.”