New York City apartment building fire kills 19

Nine children among the dead and more than 30 in hospital with life-threatening injuries

Nineteen people were killed, including nine children, and dozens were injured when a fire ripped through a 19-floor building in the Bronx borough of New York City on Sunday, said city officials.

New York City mayor Eric Adams, just over a week into the job, confirmed 19 deaths from the blaze that erupted about 11am local time in the imposing brown-brick building which provided affordable housing units.

Earlier on Sunday, officials said 32 people had been hospitalised with life-threatening injuries and some 60 were injured in total.

“It’s a tragedy beyond measure,” said Mr Adams, who added that the fire appears to have been caused by a space heater.


The cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but it is likely to provoke questions on safety standards in low-income city housing. This was the second deadly fire in a residential complex in the US this week after 12 people, including eight children, were killed early on Wednesday when flames swept through a public housing apartment building in Philadelphia.

US Representative Ritchie Torres, a Democrat whose district includes the New York building, told MSNBC that affordable housing developments such as the Bronx one pose safety risks to residents. “When we allow our affordable housing developments to be plagued by decades of disinvestment, we are putting lives at risk,” he said.

Smoke spread to every floor of the building, likely because the door to the apartment where it started was left open, and victims suffered from significant smoke inhalation, said city fire department commissioner Daniel Nigro.

“Members [firefighters] found victims on every floor in stairwells and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” he said.

Some 200 firefighters helped extinguish the blaze, and some ran out of oxygen in their tanks but pushed through anyway to rescue people from the building, said Mr Adams.

A photographer at the scene saw emergency responders performing CPR on at least eight people in front of the building. Firefighters with hose lines were working to push smoke out of the building and one of them was seen breaking a window on an upper floor to release the fumes.


The building is owned by a joint venture, Bronx Park Phase III Preservation LLC, made up of three firms. “We are devastated by the unimaginable loss of life caused by this profound tragedy,” said a spokesperson for the joint venture.

Bronx Park Phase III Preservation LLC did not immediately respond to requests for information on the building’s fire safety record and inspection history, affordable housing units, and management.

Affordable Housing Online, a website that shares information on public housing, reported the building has “a certain number of units” set aside for lower-income households.

That same website listed Reliant Realty Services as the building’s property manager. Reliant did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation it was the building manager or information on the building’s fire safety history.

New York governor Kathy Hochul said she was horrified by the devastating fire and that her “heart is with the loved ones of all those we’ve tragically lost”