Mayor: Child playing with stove burners started deadly NY apartment fire

Mayor: Child playing with stove burners started deadly NY apartment fire”

Authorities said Friday that a small child playing with a stove in his first-floor kitchen appears to have sparked the blaze, which is the city's deadliest residential fire in decades.

"We know that there are four in critical condition", said family friend Eunice Reed.

Police and relatives have identified five of the victims in the blaze on Prospect Avenue near East 187th Street, which is near the Bronx Zoo: 2- and 7-year-old Kylie and Charmela Francis, and their 37-year-old mother Karen Francis; 19-year-old Shantay Young; and 58-year-old Maria Batiz.

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. Witnesses cited in the Times' report say Mensah disappeared after going back into the building to look for more victims.

Truly terrifying. A fire in an apartment building in the Bronx has already claimed a dozen lives as firemen frantically work to slow the raging inferno.

. Fire Department video released Friday showed the building's charred halls and stairs, where icicles had formed from water poured on the blaze.

De Blasio also said at least 12 lives were saved by members of the New York City Fire Department. He emphasised that young children should not be left unattended, and those fleeing apartment fires should always shut doors behind them once the last person is out. "We won't tell you anything more about it other than they range in ages from 1 to over 50".

Nigro said it's not rare for children to start fires.

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"I heard people screaming, 'There's a fire in the building!'" he said.

Local media is reporting that a one-year-old toddler, a two-year-old and a seven-year-old are among the dead, along with an unidentified boy, four men and four women.

It was constructed in 1916 and had more than 20 units, according to property records cited by the newspaper.

A spokesperson for the FDNY stated that the first emergency call was placed at 6:51 p.m. on the evening of Thursday, Dec. 28.

"I opened the door and it was pitch black", Rodriguez said.

Rajkumar Ramdhani, who lived with his wife on the second floor of the building, said two grandchildren were visiting from Virginia when the fire broke out. A fire in a home in another part of the Bronx killed 10 people, including nine children, in 2007. Red Cross representatives stationed on the block offered blankets and smoke alarm installations to residents. No one has been able find Mensah; his family has checked four hospitals.

But Nigro said there was nothing unusual about the structure of the building that would have made it especially prone to such a disaster, a point that Mayor Bill de Blasio, D, reiterated later on WNYC radio.

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