Space Heater the Cause of Bronx Apt Fire That Left 17 Dead, 63 Injured

In Summary

The deadly fire in the Bronx is the second major fire to occur in the last week in the Northeast region.   

As the temperature plummets, fire officials often send a hazardous warning about the potential dangers of space heaters.  

In the Bronx, a malfunctioning electric space heater was the source of the deadly blaze that killed 17 people and injured at least 63. The New York City’s fire commissioner called the unfortunate event the city’s worst fire in modern history.  

The deadly fire took the lives of eight children, and 63 were injured by “severe smoke inhalation,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Sunday in a news conference.  

Nigro also said 32 people were sent to five borough hospitals in life-threatening condition.  

RELATED: Huge House Fire in Philadelphia Kills 13, Including 7 Children 

“This is a horrific, horrific, 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,” said Mayor Eric Adams.  

Officials will also inspect the building’s fire alarms and other possible hindrances that possibly escalated the event.  

“Many of these buildings are old. Not every apartment has a fire alarm. Most of these buildings have no sprinkler system,” said Congressman Ritchie Torres, who represents residents of the apartment building. “And so the risk of a fire is much higher in lower-income neighborhoods in the Bronx than it might be elsewhere in the city or in the country.”  

“When we allow our affordable housing developments to be plagued by decades of disinvestment, we are putting lives at risk. These buildings are wide open to catastrophic fires that can cost people their lives, including the lives of children.”  

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), heating equipment is the No. 1 cause of fires in U.S. homes. Local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 48,530 fires involving heating equipment from 2014 to 2018.  

The fires have led to 500 deaths, 1,350 injuries and $1.1 billion in direct property damage.  

The Bronx fire was the second deadly blaze to happen in the Northeast in the past week.  

RELATED: 12 People Identified as Victims in Philadelphia Row House Fire 

In Philadelphia, a three-story row home that was converted into two apartments caught on fire, which killed eight children and four adults.  

Two people were taken to the hospital and eight were able to escape.  

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.   

Editor’s Note: A previous version of the story listed the death toll at 19. The story has been updated to reflect the revised numbers released by New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday afternoon.

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