At Least 19 People, Including 9 Children Killed In Bronx Apartment Fire, NYC’s Deadliest Blaze In Three Decades

At least 19 people, including nine children, have been killed and more than a dozen people were critically injured in a fire that broke out in a New York City apartment building.

The fire reportedly started in a duplex apartment on the third floor of Twin Parks North West apartment building at 333 East 181 Street in the Tremont section of the Bronx just before 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 9.

Fire department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said some 200 firefighters were sent to extinguish the fire, which officials believe was sparked by a malfunctioning electric heater, plugged in to give extra heat on a cold morning.

Mamadou Wague said the fire started in his third-floor duplex, where he lives with his wife and eight kids, one of whom was trapped on a burning bed.

“We was sleeping and then my kids were screaming saying fire, fire,” Wague said during an interview with Eyewitness News reporter Josh Einiger.

Wague suffered burns on his nose when he hurdled through the flames to rescue his daughter, who also suffered critical burn injuries but is alive and stable.

“I don’t want anybody life — I don’t want to hear anybody dead in this fire, that’s what I worry about,” Wague said.

Nigro described the incident as a five-alarm fire, the most severe category. The death toll was the worst seen in New York for 30 years. 

The 19 people who were killed were found in the stairwell on various floors of the building. More than 30 people, with 13 “clinging to their lives” in nearby hospitals, are believed to have suffered severe damage to their airways after inhaling the smoke. 

“Members found victims on every floor in stairwells and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” he told NBC News.

There were two floors of fire, and smoke alarms were operable, but the door to the apartment where the fire started was left open, causing the “unprecedented” smoke to spread to every floor, Commissioner Nigro told reporters.

“I saw the smoke, a lot of people were panicking,” he said. “You could see that no-one wanted to jump from the building,” George King, who lives nearby, told the AFP news agency.

Calling Sunday’s events “a night of tragedy”, New York Governor Kathy Hochul pledged to create a victims’ compensation fund to support survivors.

“There will be money to find new housing, burial costs, and whatever we need because that’s what we do here in New York,” Hochul said.

She added, “My heart is with the loved ones of all those we’ve tragically lost, all of those impacted, and with our heroic FDNY firefighters. The entire state of New York stands with New York City.”

New York Mayor Eric Adams said: “The numbers are horrific.” “The impact of this fire is going to bring a level of pain and despair to our city.” 

NYC apartment fire. “Members found victims on every floor in stairwells and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” Fire department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. NY_Actions/ Twitter       

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