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BRONX, NY — An enormous blaze claimed the lives of nine children and 10 adults in The Bronx Sunday, according to officials and reports.
At least 63 people were injured in the 5-alarm fire that broke out on the third floor of 333 E. 181st St. in Tremont about 11 a.m., according to the FDNY.
The fire was started because of a faulty space heater, and the door to the apartment unit was left open, making it easier to spread, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said at a news conference Sunday evening.
“[FDNY] Members found victims on every floor,” Nigro said at a news briefing earlier in the day.
Mayor Eric Adams’ senior adviser Stefan Ringel confirmed the death toll and an anonymous city official confirmed the number of children who died, The FDNY said 44 people were rushed to area hospitals.
More than 200 firefighters rushed to put out the fire, which was under control shortly after 1:25 p.m., the FDNY said.
The fire began in a duplex apartment on the second and third floors, Nigro told reporters. There were 120 units in the building.
The 19-story building was seen to shake and city inspectors were sent to examine the apartment complex’s stability, Department of Buildings records show.
Mayor Eric Adams arrived at the scene to be briefed by Nigro.
“The numbers are horrific,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a press briefing, according to the New York Times. “This is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times.”
The city opened Angelo Patri Middle School at 22-25 Webster Ave. to provide care to those displaced by the fire, according to police.