12 dead, several injured in Bronx building fire


New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the Thursday fire that killed 12 people at an apartment in the Bronx was started by a three and a half year old boy playing with a stove.

A National Guard soldier who reportedly went home for the holidays died while trying to save people from the deadly apartment fire in New York City.

He emphasized 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.

"The stairway acted like a chimney", Nigro said at the Friday news conference. "But when you have this number of people pass as a result of a disaster like this, it's heartbreaking", de Vulpillieres said.

She then rushed to the Jacobi Medical Center where she got the awful news, "That's when I find out they all dead".

One family lost four members: Karen Stewart-Francis, her daughters, 2-year-old Kiley Francis and 7-year-old Kelly Francis, and their cousin, 19-year-old Shawntay Young, relatives said. At least four others were injured. The fire originated from the third floor of a five-floor building in New York City's Bronx borough.

In addition to the reports of one apartment's faulty smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, the city received four complaints about the building, since 2004.

Firefighters on the scene were able to save 12 people, but due to the raging fire, they could not fully enter the building to save others. "Based on the research we have at this moment, it does not appear there was anything problematic about the building or the fire safety in the building". I ask all New Yorkers to keep them in your prayers, too. "It was scary because I thought I was going to fall over".

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Twum Bredu, 61, arrived in the neighborhood looking for his brother, who had been staying with a family in the building.

The 12 confirmed fatalities made the fire the deadliest since an inferno at the Happy Land social club - less than a mile from Thursday's blaze - which killed 87 people in 1990, the Times said.

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

According to city records, the building had no elevator.

"We get 75 to 100 referrals per year of children who are fascinated with fire, playing with fire", he said.

"Close the door, close the door, close the door", Nigro said.

The blaze broke out at a five-story building, a block from the grounds of the Bronx Zoo.

While the doors are required in any apartment building with more than three units, they sometimes do not work properly because they get clogged or dirty, NY fire-safety consultant Jim Bullock said.