Jan. 9 (UPI) — A massive five-alarm fire broke out in an apartment building in the Fordham Heights neighborhood of the Bronx in New York City on Sunday, killing at least 19 people, including nine children.
More than 200 firefighters with the Fire Department of New York were battling the blaze, which was first reported around 11 a.m. in the 19-floor building, in what city officials described as one of the worst fires in decades.
“This is a horrific, horrific, painful moment for the city of New York and the impact of this fire is going to really bring a level of just pain and despair in our city,” Mayor Eric Adams said during a press conference.
“This is going to be one of the worst fires we have witnessed during modern times in the city of New York.”
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said firefighters who responded were met with “very heavy smoke” and “very heavy fire,” finding victims on every floor and in stairwells of the building.
“There were certainly people trapped in their apartments all through this building, which is why our members did an unbelievable job of getting through every floor of this building and getting to these folks,” Nigro said.
Fire officials said 63 people were deemed to have suffered injuries so far, with at least 32 of them taken to area hospitals. Officials have not released the names of any of the victims.
Videos posted to Citizen App show plumes of smoke billowing from the building while flames shoot out from windows on its lower floors after the blaze broke out on the building’s third floor.
Fire officials said the fire has been “knocked down” and is at a “probably will hold” status, meaning it is not likely to grow any larger. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire.