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At least 17 dead, including eight children, in a fire in a building in New York

The malfunction of an electric stove caused a fire this Sunday in a residential building in the Bronx neighborhood of New York, which has caused at least 17 deaths, including eight children under 16 years of age, and about 60 injured, according to municipal officials have confirmed. The first information numbered 19 deaths, nine of them children, but as the mayor of the city, Eric Adams, clarified this Monday, the number of fatalities offered on Sunday has been lowered. It is, in Adams's words, “one of the worst fires ever experienced in modern history. The figures are terrible ”, he told reporters in the middle of Sunday afternoon. Late at night, authorities reported that 13 of the injured are in critical condition due to smoke inhalation and the death toll is likely to increase.

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Photogallery: The fire, in images

The flames began shortly before eleven in the morning in a duplex apartment located on the second and third floors of the block, located on 181 Street, East part. When residents of the affected home escaped the flames, they left the door open, fueling the fire and spreading smoke. Fire crews arrived at the scene of the incident three minutes after the warning and found that the thick black smoke had already taken over the entire complex, which prevented the neighbors from having visibility to escape the flames. The rescue teams found people in cardiorespiratory arrest on each of the 19 floors of the building.

Emergency workers transport an injured person. LLOYD MITCHELL (REUTERS)

Approximately 200 firefighters attended the building. The head of the force, Daniel Nigro, said that the victims had suffered very serious injuries from smoke inhalation. “This is something unprecedented in our city,” said the fire chief. In the images distributed by the press, children could be seen receiving oxygen after their evacuation and rescues between columns of smoke through the window. Affected neighbors, many of them Gambian immigrants, have described to the media how difficult it was to get out because the corridors were completely dark with smoke. As they tried, they heard screams of children and windows breaking.

The families of the victims met at a school near the event, where they received news of the deaths. One of the building's neighbors, Cristal Díaz, 27, told The New York Post who managed to flee from the 15th floor with his cousins, his aunt and their dog. “I was having coffee in the living room when I smelled the smoke. We wet towels to put them under the doors. It was all crazy, “he said. Dilenny Rodriguez, 38, explained that she kept hearing children screaming as she hurriedly left her house on the ninth floor: “I heard a lot of children. They yelled 'help, help, help'. It was dark, there was a lot of smoke. Those children asking for help. ”

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A firefighter rescues several people trapped in the building. DPA via Europa Press (Europa Press)

“We are a city in a state of shock “, said the governor, Kathy Hochul, in a press conference in which she tried to offer comfort to those affected:” We will not forget you. We will not abandon you ”. The city's Department of Buildings reported that the block remained stable, according to a preliminary investigation. The American Red Cross has assisted in the task of relocating displaced residents and the mayor's office has started a fundraiser through its website to support the victims.

The 1972 building is part of a 120-story complex called Twin Parks Northwest created as an affordable housing project. Democratic congressman Ritchie Torres, who represents this area in Washington, warned on MSNBC, according to the Associated Press, that many of these buildings “are old, not all of them have a fire alarm or irrigation system.”

This Sunday in the Bronx is the second serious fire registered in a residential building in the United States this week. Last Wednesday, 12 people, including eight children, died in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia, in a house that had been converted into two apartments.

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