Bronx apartment fire kills at least 19, including 9 children

“The numbers are horrific,” Mayor Eric Adams said.

Updated: January 9, 2022 - 6:15pm

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At least 19 people, including 9 children, died in a fire in a Bronx apartment building Sunday morning, New York City Mayor Eric Adams confirmed.

The fire is one of the worst in the city in more than 30 years. The five-alarm fire began just before 11 a.m. in a 19-story building on East 181st Street.

Firefighters arrived within three minutes after the initial call, but smoke had already engulfed the building, The New York Times reports.

"The smoke conditions in this building were unprecedented," Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said, adding that firefighters found victims "on every floor."

"The numbers are horrific," Mayor Adams said on Sunday. "This is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times."

The fire reportedly started due to a "malfunctioning space heater" in a 2-story apartment in the building, according to Nigro, CNN reports.

When the residents left that apartment, the door was left open. "The smoke spread throughout the building, thus the tremendous loss of life and people fighting for their lives right now in hospitals all over the Bronx," Nigro said.

"The marshals have determined through physical evidence and through first-hand accounts through residents that this fire started in a bedroom in a portable electric heater," he added.