Mayor Eric Adams told reporters that nine adults and eight children are now known to have been killed in Sunday’s fire.
The mayor initially said a fire caused by a portable electric heater, according to New York Fire Department (FDNY) commissioner Daniel Nigro, killed ten adults and nine children.
According to the FDNY, dozens more people were injured at about 11 a.m. in local time (6 pm Lithuanian time) in the event of a fire in a 19-storey apartment building in the Bronx district.
Firefighters “found victims on every floor and carried people whose hearts and breathing had stopped,” Nigro said.
He attributed the previous number of casualties to a “double counting”, adding that the number of deaths could still change due to injuries.
“Unfortunately, that number could rise again,” he told reporters.
Nigro said people were killed and seriously injured by the smoke, not the fire.
Nigro said a fire broke out on Sunday in one of the apartments on the second and third floors. Firefighters found the door to this apartment open. In their view, this helped the fire and smoke to spread rapidly.
According to D.Nigro, the tragedy can be compared to the fire in the social club “Happy Land” in 1990, which claimed 87 lives. The building was then set on fire by a man in conflict with his ex-girlfriend and thrown out of the club.
The cause of this disaster does not appear to be any criminal activity, but the circumstances of the incident are being investigated.
A few days earlier in Philadelphia, a fire in a house killed 12 people, including eight children.