At Least 12 Dead in Fire Near Fordham in the Bronx

Kelvin Reese
December 31, 2017

New York City's deadliest fire in decades happened three days after Christmas, on one of the coldest nights of the year.

Resident Diana Hayes told the New York Times she had escaped with her daughter and pulled a neighbour's two children from the fire, but that she had to leave other children behind. That blaze, which occurred at a social club, was located less than a mile away from Thursday night's fire.

Four people were critically injured from the fire and were "fighting for their lives", Nigro said. His wife was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation and was OK, Rodriguez said, but it was "devastating" that other neighbors weren't as lucky.

Activity from police and fire department officers cut through what otherwise was a generally quiet residential neighborhood that sits a short distance from the Bronx Zoo, St. Barnabas Hospital and Fordham University.

The fire is believed to be New York City's deadliest since a 1990 blaze at a Bronx nightclub that killed 87 people. Excluding the September 11 attacks, it was the worst fire in the city since 87 people were killed at a social club fire in the Bronx in 1990.

The 3½-year-old-boy, his mother and another child were able to flee their first-floor apartment.

Unsettling video footage shows the burned out hallway and stairwell inside the Bronx apartment building where 12 people died in a horrific fire on Thursday.

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The fire started on the first floor of a Bronx apartment block on Thursday and quickly spread upstairs, according to fire officials. Despite that, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that all those who were in the building have been accounted for.

The building, with 26 apartments, has at least six open building code violations, according to city records.

"The first story I heard is that she was up top and she couldn't get down", said George, 19, fighting back tears. "I couldn't carry the rest of them", Reyes told the Times.

"That's what I think, because it was in his nature", Kwabena said. Batiz, who lived in the building, was at work when the fire started just before 7 p.m.

"I know there were concerns raised about the building itself", Mr de Blasio told WNYC. "The building is gone", he said.

In 2007, 10 immigrants from Mali, including nine children, died after a space heater caught fire in a Bronx building. The communications officer for the Red Cross, Michael de Vulpillieres, said they gave out blankets, temporary housing, food, drinks and mental health care to residents who needed amid the "emotional" time.

A 28-year-old soldier who's been missing since the fire, Emmanuel Mensah, is desperately being sought by family and friends.

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