NYC apartment blaze kills dozens in one of the worst fires "in modern times"

New York, New York - At least 32 people were critically injured in a raging Bronx apartment building fire on Sunday, officials from the New York fire department said.

Some 200 FDNY firefighters fought to put out the fire on E. 181st Street.
Some 200 FDNY firefighters fought to put out the fire on E. 181st Street.  © Screenshot/Twitter/FDNY

The victims are a mix of adults and children, FDNY sources said.

The five-alarm blaze broke out about 10:54 AM EST on the third floor of a 19-story building on E. 181st Street near Tiebout Avenue in Fordham Heights, FDNY sources said. By 1 PM, some 200 firefighters had brought the fire under control.

Mayor Eric Adams and FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro were on scene during the aftermath.

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"This is going to be one of the worst fires we have witnessed here in modern times in the City of New York," the mayor said at a press conference. "This is a painful moment for the city of New York and the impact of this fire is going to really bring a level of just pain and despair in our city. The numbers are horrific."

Medics rushed 32 people with life-threatening injuries and three with serious injuries to local hospital, officials said. Nineteen people had minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

"They keep pulling people out," an FDNY source said.

Multiple health and safety violations reported

The layout of the building made it especially difficult for firefighters to operate.
The layout of the building made it especially difficult for firefighters to operate.  © Screenshot/Twitter/FDNY

More than 40 people were rescued from the burning building, FDNY sources said.

The building includes apartments converted into duplexes and has spaces hard to reach for firefighters. The blaze reportedly started in a duplex on the second and third floors, and it was able to spread catastrophically due to the door being left open.

"It's a tough place to fight a fire," the FDNY source said.

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Public records show the building has multiple open violations for mouse and roach infestations, peeling lead paint and water leaks. One open complaint with city Housing Preservation and Development makes reference to defective fire retardant material in a first-floor ceiling.

Authorities have already suggested they don't expect to find any evidence of foul play.

Cover photo: Screenshot/Twitter/FDNY

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