Several people were taken to hospital by Mayor Eric Adams Monday morning. He said that many people were in critical condition following Sunday's Bronx fire, which was already the deadliest incident in the city's history in over three decades. CNN was informed by a somber mayor that the death count could rise.
He said, "We pray that God will allow them to pull through."
Investigators discovered that the fire started in the 19-story building because of a defective electric space heater.
Although the fires only damaged a small portion of the building's structure, smoke was able to escape through the apartment's door. The smoke turned the stairwells into dark, ashy horrors, which is the only way of flying in tall buildings that have no fire escapes.
According to Daniel Nigro, Fire Commissioner, some people couldn't escape the smoke. Some people became paralysed as they attempted to escape. Nigro said that firefighters found victims on every floor of the building, including many who were in cardiac or respiratory arrest.
After being carried out, limp children were seen receiving oxygen. Some fledglings had their faces covered with soot.
Adams stated that firefighters continued to rescue people even when their air supplies were exhausted.
Adams stated that even though their oxygen tanks were empty, they still pushed through smoke.
Daniel Nigro, Fire Commissioner, stated that an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire and what could have been done in order to stop or contain it.
Adams stated that the smoke was spread by a door that was supposed be automatically shut being left open.
"There might have been a maintenance problem with this door. Adams stated that this is part of the ongoing investigation.
Although the building has smoke alarms, many residents claimed that they ignored them at first because of how common alarms were in the 120-unit building.
Sandra Clayton, a building resident, grabbed Mocha her dog and ran for her lives when she saw the hallway filled with smoke. She heard people shouting "Get out!" Get out!
Clayton, 61, claimed she crawled down a darkened staircase clutching Mocha. She couldn't see because the smoke was so thick, but she could still hear her neighbors crying and wailing nearby.
Clayton recalled her experience at a hospital for smoke inhalation, saying that she just ran down the steps and people were falling on me screaming.
Her dog got out of her grasp during the chaos. Mocha was later discovered dead at the bottom of the stairs.
Jose Henriquez, an immigrant to the Dominican Republic, lives on the 10th Floor. He said that the fire alarms of the building would often go off but then turn out not to be true.
Henriquez stated in Spanish that "it seems like today, the people went off, but they didn't pay any attention,"
After realizing that the smoke from the halls would overwhelm them, he and his family decided to stay. They placed a towel under the door.
Luis Rosa stated that he initially believed it was a false alarm. He opened the door to his 13th-floor apartment and the smoke had thickened so that he couldn’t see down the hall.
He said, "All we could do is wait."
New York City's worst fire since 1990 was the one that occurred at Happy Land Social Club in the Bronx. 87 people were killed in the arson attack. In 2017, 13 people died in a fatal apartment fire. A 2007 fire that was started by a space heater also killed nine.