New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Nineteen people were killed, including nine children, and dozens were injured when a fire started by a malfunctioning space heater spread smoke through a 19-floor building in The Bronx borough of New York City on Sunday. New York City Mayor Eric Adams, just over a week into the job, confirmed 19 people had died from the blaze that broke out around 11 a.m. in the imposing Twin Parks North West building which provided affordable housing units and was home to a Gambian community.

Earlier on Sunday, officials said 32 people had been hospitalized with life-threatening injuries and some 60 people were injured in total as smoke drifted through the building on a cold winter morning. "This is a horrific, horrific, painful moment for the city of New York. The numbers are horrific," Adams said.

The fire itself started from a space heater in an apartment that spanned the second and third floors of the building, and only made it to the hall, officials said. But smoke still spread to every floor of the building, likely because the door to the apartment was left open, the city's fire department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

Fire marshals had determined through physical evidence and account from residents the fire started in a portable electric heater in the apartment's bedroom, Nigro said, adding that the heat had been on in the apartment building and the portable heater had been supplementing that heating. The catastrophe was likely to stir questions on safety standards in low-income city housing.

This was the second major deadly fire in a residential complex in the U.S. this week after twelve people, including eight children, were killed early on Wednesday when flames swept through a public housing apartment building in Philadelphia, U.S.

TRAPPED BY SMOKE:

The building did not have external fire escapes, and residents were meant to evacuate through interior stairways, Nigro said. "I think some of them could not escape because of the volume of smoke," he said. Some 200 firefighters helped put out the blaze, and some ran out of oxygen in their tanks but pushed through anyway to rescue people from the building, Adams said.

Firefighters with hose lines were working to push smoke out of the building, and one of them was seen breaking a window on the upper floor to release the fumes. Nigro said he believed there were 120 apartments in the building. Inside a school acting as an emergency shelter, displaced residents sat at tables, dressed in thick coats and with a few belongings huddled around them.


(With Agency Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan