Dec. 29 (UPI) — A fire in a New York City apartment building that killed 12, including four kids under the age of 7, appears to have been caused by a child playing with a stove, officials said Friday.
“What we think at this point is that it unfortunately emanated from an accident, a young child playing with a stove on the first floor of the building,” the mayor said.
“It does not appear that there was anything problematic about the building or the fire safety in the building. It seems like a horrible, tragic accident.”
Among the victims were a 2-year-old, and a 1-year-old found in a bathtub with a woman on Thursday. A 7-year old girl and an unidentified boy were also killed. The oldest victim was a 63-year-old woman, officials said.
Four people were critically injured in the blaze.
Authorities are trying to determine whether a natural gas line outside the building fueled the flames, as it was shut down in May due to a leak.
People were seen scrambling down the fire escape after the fire broke around 7 p.m. on Thursday.
“By the time I got downstairs, the fire had already escalated from one apartment to two, two to almost three. All I see is a bunch of kids on the fire escape, cold, with no jacket, no pajamas, no nothing,” resident Rafael Gonzalez said.
New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand said Friday she was “heartbroken” by the news of the fire.
I’m heartbroken at the news of the devastating fire in the Bronx last night. Praying for the New Yorkers we lost, for those still fighting for their lives, and for the families affected by this horrific tragedy. Thank you to @FDNY and first responders for your bravery.