Did You Know
Did You Know
NEW YORK: A fire tore through an apartment building in New York's borough of the Bronx late Thursday (Dec 28), killing at least 12 people and leaving four others seriously injured, the mayor said.
"I'm sorry to report 12 New Yorkers are dead, including one child as young as one year old," Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters at the scene after the blaze was extinguished by fire fighters. "We may lose others as well."
He added: "This will rank as one of the worst losses of life to a fire in many, many years. This is the worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city in at least a quarter century."
Authorities said firefighters rescued 12 people from the building.
"People died on various floors of the apartment, ranging in age from 1 to over 50," Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters. "In a department that is surely no stranger to tragedy, we're shocked by the lives lost."
Two of the dead were found in a bathtub, according to reporters.
"Hold your families close and keep those families here in the Bronx in your prayers," de Blasio said in a message to New Yorkers.
The blaze erupted shortly before 7pm (8am Friday, Singapore time) in the Belmont section of the Bronx, a primarily residential, close-knit neighborhood known as the "Little Italy" of the borough, adjacent to the Bronx Zoo and Fordham University.
New York is going through a bitter cold snap with temperatures in the low-teens Fahrenheit and high winds, which according to one media account, stoked flames inside the building as residents flung open doors and windows.
Wherever fire hoses sprayed, the ground was covered with sheets of ice, according to reporters.
One witness, Rafael Gonzalez, who lives across the street from the building, told reporters he saw some youths on a fire escape of the burning building as the fire raged.
“What woke me up was the smoke, because I thought it was my building," he said.
No heavy damage to the exterior of the building was visible in news footage and photographs.
The New York City Fire Department said more than 160 firefighters responded to the four-alarm blaze.
Pictures posted on Twitter by the fire department showed two fire trucks with aerial ladders extended to the upper floors of a brick building bathed in flood lights, and firefighters on the fire escape outside what appeared to be a second- or third-floor unit.
The number of civilian fire fatalities in New York City last year dropped to 48, the fewest in the 100 years since record-keeping began, the FDNY said on its website.
Data on 2017 fire fatalities was not immediately available.