0119 GMT August 20, 2018
The fire broke out a little before 7 p.m. EST (midnight GMT) on Thursday on the first floor of a brick building and quickly spread upstairs, killing people on multiple floors, the New York City Fire Department said, Reuters reported.
“We’ve lost 12 people and we could lose more,” Mayor Bill de Blasio, who visited the scene of the fire, told CNN in a Friday morning interview. “Some are still fighting for their lives. It’s a horrible tragedy.”
Children ages 1, 2 and 7 died along with four men and four women, local media reported. An unidentified boy also died.
Authorities said firefighters rescued 12 people from the building and four people were in the hospital in critical condition. More than 160 firefighters responded to the four-alarm blaze.
The building, with 26 apartments, has at least six open building code violations, according to city records. One violation was for a broken smoke detector in an apartment on the first floor, reported in August. It was not clear if the detector had been fixed or replaced or whether it had played any role in the fire.
The building is in a poor section of the Bronx, where roughly one-half of residents earn less than the US poverty threshold, according to the US Census Bureau.
It was the deadliest fire in the city since an arsonist torched a Bronx nightclub in 1990, killing 87 people inside the venue that did not have fire exits, alarms or sprinklers, the New York Times reported.
In 2007 10 immigrants from Mali, including nine children, died after a space heater caught fire in a Bronx building.