Last night, a five-alarm fire tore through a five-story apartment building at 2363 Prospect Avenue in the Bronx, killing 12 people and injuring several more. Mayor Bill de Blasio called the blaze “the worst fire tragedy in at least a quarter of a century.”
According to the New York Times, the fire started on the first floor of the building, and quickly spread, in part because of the windy conditions in the city yesterday. More than 160 FDNY members were on the scene, and the fire was under control by 10 p.m. Four people removed from the premises remain in critical condition, and a dozen more were saved from the burning building.
Update: Mayor Bill de Blasio stated on WNYC this morning that investigators now believe that the fire was caused by a child who was playing with a stove in a first-floor apartment. “Unfortunately it emanated from an accident,” he said.
In a press conference, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that the residents of that apartment left their door open as they vacated, and that, plus the evening’s weather conditions, “acted like a chimney” that made the fire spread quickly.
Though there are not currently any DOB violations open for the building, the New York Daily News reported that one of its first-floor apartments has an open violation on file with NYC Housing Preservation and Development for faulty carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. (Property owners for buildings with multiple dwellings are required to install and maintain both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and have proof of those on file with HPD.)
The building has been owned since 1984 by D&A Equities, which also owns several other properties in New York, including an adjacent building at 2357 Prospect Avenue, per the Real Deal.
The city’s Office of Emergency Management is now working with the Red Cross to help displaced residents in the Bronx, and a reception center has been set up at 2474 Crotona Avenue for those who need assistance.
The New York City Unified Victim Identification System (UVIS) has been activated in response to the five-alarm in The Bronx. If you are concerned about the welfare of someone who may have been affected by the event and are unable to contact them, please call 311.— New York City Alerts (@NYCityAlerts) December 29, 2017