The blaze broke out on the first floor of a five-story building just before 7 p.m. and quickly ripped through the roughly century-old structure, which stands in a row of similar apartment buildings a block from the grounds of the Bronx Zoo. But the flames moved so fast that many never made it out of their apartments. "He was trying to help people out from the fire, and unfortunately he lost his life. Get out! Get out!'" Thierme Diallo, a resident on the first floor of the building, told the Post.
Except for the September 11 terror attacks, it was the city's deadliest fire since 87 people were killed at a social club fire in the Bronx in 1990.
Some tenants of the building climbed down fire escapes.
"I was in my bed sleeping... and somebody knock on the door shouting, 'We have fire in the building". When the flames erupted, the boy's mother escaped the apartment with her two children, but forgot to close the door behind her.
Father Jonathan Morris, pastor at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in the Bronx, spent hours following the fire consoling families at hospitals as they grappled with the injury, loss or uncertainty of what would happen to their loved ones. "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". He ran out in his bathrobe, jacket and sandals.
"Bunch of calls on this one, chief", an official said over the radio as fire units rushed to the scene.
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New York City is going through a bitter cold snap with temperatures in the low-teens Fahrenheit (minus teens Celsius) and high winds. Nine children and one adult died in a blaze sparked by a space heater. The apartment building at 2363 Prospect Ave., is about half a mile from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in the Bronx, the northernmost borough in New York City.
The FDNY says in a tweet that's the number of injuries now reported from the fire near the Bronx Zoo.
The building, with 26 apartments, has at least six open building code violations, according to city records.