Investigators in New York City searched early on Friday for the cause of a blaze that ripped through an apartment building in the Bronx and killed 12 people including four children, in the city’s deadliest fire in at least a quarter of a century.
The fire broke out a little before 7 p.m. on the first floor of a brick building and quickly spread upstairs, city Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told a news conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio. The cause was under investigation.
Children ages one, two and seven and an unidentified boy died in the fire along with and four men and four women, local media reported.
Four people were in hospital in critical condition “fighting for their lives,” the mayor said. Authorities said firefighters rescued 12 people from the building.
The blaze erupted in the Belmont section of the Bronx, a primarily residential, close-knit neighborhood known as the “Little Italy” of the borough, adjacent to the Bronx Zoo and Fordham University.
New York is going through a bitter cold snap with temperatures in the low-teens Fahrenheit and high winds, which according to one media account, stoked flames inside the building as residents flung open doors and windows.