NYC apartment fire kills 12, injures 4
Mayor de Blasio calls it one of the worst fires in the history of the city.
On one of the coldest nights of the year, the New York City’s deadliest residential fires in decades ravaged a Bronx apartment building – the killing of 12 people, including a number of young children.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said late Thursday that an additional four people are fighting for their lives.
Some of the victims died of smoke inhalation and others of burns, New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters. He said that the fire was started by a 3 1/2-year-old child that was playing with hotplate burners in an apartment on the first floor.
The fire was “historic in its size”, because so many people have died, Nigro said. With the exception of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the apartment fire was the worst blaze in the city since 87 people were killed in a fire at a Bronx social club in 1990. In 2007, 10 people, including nine children, died when a fire caused by a space heater ripped through a four-storey house in the Bronx.
The fire department of New York personnel at the site of the devastating apartment fire in the Bronx.
Thursday is fire traveled up the building stairwell because the door of the affected on the first floor unit was still open, Nigro said.
“People had very little time to react,” Nigro said, adding that residents were unable to escape the fire by the use of those stairs.
“Our hearts go out to everyone who lost a loved one here and everyone is fighting for their life,” Nigro said.
This photo shows broken windows at the back of the building where a dozen people died on Thursday.. A fire broke out when a young boy played with the burners on his mother’s stove, officials said.
(AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Officials have not yet released the names of the victims, but some have been identified by family members.
Here is what we know about the victims:
Young girls in the age of 1, 2 and 7, and a boy whose age was not given, were among the victims of the Bronx fire, de Blasio said.
Three women, in the age of 19, 37 and 63, four unknown men and an unknown woman also died in the fire, the New York Post reported.
Four others remain in the hospital, fighting to survive.
Shawntay Young, 19
Shawntay Young was 19 years old.
The young was visiting with family members on the fifth floor of the building when the fire started, her father, Howard Williams, told WABC-TV. He said that he has tried to get to his daughter, but was not able to get through the smoke.
Shevan Stewart, a member of the family, told The New York Times that she was cooking curry with chicken and rice when the boy ducked into her apartment to see what she was making. Stewart said the Young informed her that she was going upstairs to “visit Aunt Karan”, but promised to “come back.”
“But they came not back,” Stewart told The Times.
Karen Stewart-Francis, 37
Karen Stewart-Francis and her two daughters were among those who died in the fire, The time reported.
Stewart-Francis was part of a 13 member of the family of Jamaica, all lived in the building, her mother, Ambrozia Stewart, told The Times. Stewart-Francis was also Shawntay Young aunt, according to WABC.
Kelly Francis, 7
Kelly, Franciscus mother and younger sister died in the fire. She was only 7.
Kylie Francis, 2
Kylie Franciscus mother and older sister died in the fire. Kylie Francis 2.
Maria Batiz, 56, and her 8-month-old granddaughter
Maria Batiz and her 8-month-old granddaughter died, her brother told the New York Daily News.
Maria Batiz allegedly called her daughter, the mother of the baby, and told her that they were locked in the apartment, according to a GoFundMe account.
Maria told her daughter that “we are going to die in the lord”, her brother, Fernando Batiz, told the Daily News.
“I lost my angel baby and my best friend, my mother. The lady who born for me and would do anything for me away,” Christine Batiz, Maria’s daughter, said on GoFundMe. “I lost everything in a matter of minutes. One thing you should know that my daughter plays with her new toys, [and] the next hour they are gone from my life.”
Christine Batiz added that she did not “want this on my worst enemy” and said her “heart goes out to the rest of the families who are grieving.”
Maria Batiz came to New York from Puerto Rico, her brother said, and was one of 10 brothers and sisters – some of whom still live in Puerto Rico.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.