12 dead in New York City apartment fire
More than 170 firefighters worked for hours in which the four-alarm blaze in the Bronx.
At least 12 people, including four children, were killed and four others were fighting for their lives after a massive fire broke Thursday in an apartment building in the Bronx borough of New York City.
“Tonight here in the Bronx, families are torn apart,” New York city Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters on Thursday evening. The mayor called the event the “worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city.”
More than 170 firefighters were on the scene of the four-alarm fire, located at a five-story walk-up apartment house in the Bronx, only one block from the town’s famous zoo, FOX5 New York reported. The fire department worked to battle the blaze in temperatures up to 15 degrees.
More than 160 firefighters responded to the four-alarm fire in the Bronx, only one block from the town’s famous zoo.
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
The four children killed in the fire were the age of 1, 2, 7, and an unknown boy, the FIREFIGHTERS announced. The other victims were three women aged 19, 37, 63, an unidentified woman and four unidentified men. Governments do not have the name of the victims. Dozens of other victims were rescued with injuries, but were expected to recover.
Here is the official statement about the fatal fire in the Bronx pic.twitter.com/sxVtiNp0sV
— New York City Alerts (@NYCityAlerts) December 29, 2017
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted: “We are closely monitoring the devastating fire in the Bronx. As always, we are grateful for our first responders. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families tonight.
We are closely monitoring the devastating fire in the Bronx. As always, we are grateful for our first responders. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families tonight.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 29, 2017
The fire, which was brought under control, broke just before 7 p.m., Thursday. Officials said a natural gas line may have caused the fire, but an investigation was requested.
A fire official told Pix 11 News that the cause of the fire is deemed “suspicious” and there were “reports of a natural gas leakage during the firefight.”
#BREAKING: Fire official tells me researchers determined that the cause of the Bronx fire, to Prospect Ave, which killed 12 people. It is excluded “suspicious” and there was a report of a natural gas leakage during the firefight. More details released at a press conference. @PIX11News
— Anthony DiLorenzo (@ADiLorenzoTV) December 29, 2017
The building had no elevator, the Associated Press reported, citing city records. Fire escapes are visible on the facade of the building.
The fire started on the first floor for the spread, the officials said. The fire department responded to emergency calls within three minutes.
This tragedy is, without a doubt, historic in size. Our hearts go out to all the family who lost a loved one here and everyone is fighting for their life#FDNY Commissioner Nigro
— FDNY (@FDNY) December 29, 2017
Witnesses described the scene of the fire and the panic of the building tenants.
A witness, Xanral Collins, told the New York Post he saw a father running in the direction of the building, but was not able to enter.
“I saw him and screamed,” My baby is dead! My baby is dead!'” Collins said.
“I heard a woman shout, ‘We are trapped, help!'”
– Jamal Flicker, a witness said.
Jamal Flicker, a witness told the New York Post, he heard cries for help.
“The smoke was crazy, people screaming, ‘Get out!,” Flicker said. “I heard a woman shout, ‘We are trapped, help!'”
BREAKING: at least 12 people have died, 4 have been seriously injured after massive apartment fire in the Bronx, new YORK officials say. “This tragedy is, without a doubt, historic in scope.” https://t.co/tePO1cKcYk pic.twitter.com/OtOQc5l9h3
— ABC News (@ABC) December 29, 2017
Neighborhood resident Robert Gonzalez, who has a friend who lives in the building, told the Associated Press she was on a fire escape as another occupant fled with five children.
“When I got here, she was crying,” Gonzalez said.
“I went to four hospitals, I can’t find him,”
– Kwabena Mensah said of his missing son.
Kwabena Mensah told the Daily News that he feared that his son, Emmanuel Mensah, an AMERICAN soldier, was one of the victims of the devastating fire.
“He came home from the Army about a week ago for the holidays,” he said.
Mensah said his son’s roommate saw the soldier, before the fire broke out in the building.
“He told the roommate not to come out of the apartment, because there was smoke. But when she saved everyone from the windows, we couldn’t find him. I went to four hospitals, I can’t find him,” Mensah said.
De Blasio, on Thursday press conference, advised to “keep your family close and keep these families here in the Bronx in your prayers.”
One of the most deadly fires in recent history happened elsewhere in the Bronx in 2007. Nine children and an adult died in a blaze sparked by a heater.
With the exception of the Sept. 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 Associated Press contributed to this report.
Nicole Darrah cover breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.