A fire at a five-story, century-old apartment building located at 2363 Prospect Ave., in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx, claimed the lives of at least twelve people on Thursday night in the city’s deadliest fire since 1990. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also said that four had sustained critical injuries and two others were facing non-life threatening injuries. The New York Daily News reported that the victims included a one-year old child.
According to the New York Times, the first emergency call came around 6:51 p.m., and by 10 p.m. when de Blasio spoke, the fire had been contained. It was reported that over 160 firefighters were on the scene. The cause has yet to be determined.
De Blasio said that the New York City Fire Department rescued twelve people:
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro called the fire “historic in magnitude”:
According to New York City demographics, the neighborhood is majority Latinx and one of the poorest communities in the city, with almost half of its residents living below the federal poverty line. The New York Times noted the building, built in 1916, was a five-story walk-up with over 20 units.
From the New York Times:
Luz Hernandez, another resident, said she first realized something was wrong when the smell of burned rubber filled her apartment on the fourth floor, followed by smoke so thick that it made the room pitch-black. She summoned her husband and two sons, 11 and 16, to the window, and they descended the front fire escape as smoke rose near them.
Later, Ms. Hernandez said in Spanish, she saw the charred bodies of two women who lived together and their two young daughters being carried away on stretchers.
The fire is the deadliest New York has seen since 1990, when 87 died in a fire at the Happy Land Social Club in the University Heights neighborhood of the Bronx. In 2007, a fire at a 100-plus year old wooden apartment building in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx claimed the lives of ten, including nine children.
This is a developing story. This post will be updated as more information becomes available.