A 3-year-old playing with a stove accidentally started the deadliest fire in New York City in more than 25 years, officials said Friday.
The flames spread quickly through a Bronx apartment building Thursday night, racing out the open door of the ground floor apartment and up the stairwell, which the city’s fire chief said “acted like a chimney.” Five of the building’s residents were already dead when the fire department arrived three minutes after the first 911 call.
By the time firefighters had extinguished the flames a few hours later, 12 people, including five children, had been killed, and four others were “fighting for their lives” in local hospitals, New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Friday.
The youngest victim was Amora Vidal, a week shy of turning eight-months-old, her mother Christine Batiz said. Batiz, who lived in the building, was at work when the fire started just before 7 p.m.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Abigail Hauslohner, Eli Rosenberg, Vera Haller