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Gigantic fire in a building in New York: at least 19 dead, including several boys

At least 19 people died this Sunday in a fire in an apartment building in the Bronx neighborhood of New York, the causes of which are being investigated.

According to the New York Post and ABC7 television, which cite police sources, there are nine boys among the 19 fatalities.

The number of victims could grow, because more than 60 people were injured and many of them were serious, according to the authorities, who point out that it was the worst fire in the city in the last 30 years.

At least 32 people had to be taken to the hospital, CBS reported.

Fire department chief Dan Nigro said he expects “numerous deaths.”

The vast majority of victims suffer from smoke inhalation, the official reported.

“Surely there were people trapped in their apartments throughout the building, inhaling the smoke,” said Nigro, noting that it is an “unprecedented” fire.

As reported by local authorities, the disaster was caused by a portable electric heater who was in the bedroom of the apartment from where the flames started.

The mayor of the city, Eric Adams, said that today is one of the most devastating fires in the recent history of the Big Apple.

Fire in New York, this Sunday. Video capture.

“The numbers are horrible,” Adams told a news conference at the scene.

“We know we have 19 people who are confirmed dead, as well as several others in critical condition,” Adams told CNN.

According to CNN, about 200 New York firefighters came to the scene, following the alert of a fire that started on the third floor of a 19-story residential building. Until this afternoon it was not clear the possible origin of the fire.

The fire was subdued, announced the New York Fire Department (FDNY), but dozens of people had to be treated for burns or symptoms of suffocation.

The FDNY began receiving alert calls shortly before 11 a.m. Shortly after, images published on social networks and in local media showed the building on Calle 181 Este, number 333, engulfed in smoke and flames, and with a large amount of broken glass.

Horror testimonies

“It was chaos,” Goerge King, who lives in the neighboring building, told AFP. “I have lived here 15 years and it is the first time I have seen something like this,” he added.

“I saw the smoke, a lot of people were panicking. You could see that no one wanted to jump out of the building. People were waving their arms from the windows,” King recounted.

The injured were transferred to five hospitals and many of them suffered cardiac and respiratory arrests, reported the New York Times.

The building that caught fire this Sunday in the Bronx, in New York.  Photo: AP

The building that caught fire this Sunday in the Bronx, in New York. Photo: AP

The incident comes just four days after a fire in Philadelphia killed 12 people, including eight children, in a three-story social building, in what was one of the deadliest recent fires in the United States.

In New York it is feared that the number of victims will increase.

“The last time we had loss of life, such as this horrible (incident), was 30 years ago, also in the Bronx,” said the commissioner of the fire department, Dan Nigro, quoted by NBC News.

The flames quickly engulfed much of the structure, and Nigro indicated that the smoke was so dense as to be “unprecedented.”

Images posted on the FDNY Twitter account show flames topped by a thick column of black smoke rising from a second-story window of this brown brick building.

“This is truly a tragedy,” Mayor Adams lamented, adding that many residents had been displaced.

In December 2017, 13 people died in an apartment building fire in the Bronx, the city’s deadliest in 25 years.

New York, with 9 million inhabitants, suffers in several neighborhoods from an immense housing crisis, with buildings that are sometimes old and in poor condition.

Source: AFP, EFE and AP

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