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19 dead, including 9 children, in ‘unprecedented’ New York City apartment fire

Some 200 firefighters respond to massive blaze ripping through 19-story building in Bronx; 32 people hospitalized; cause being investigated

  • Emergency first responders remain at the scene after an intense fire at a 19-story residential building that erupted in the morning of January 9, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Scott Heins/ Getty Images/ AFP)
    Emergency first responders remain at the scene after an intense fire at a 19-story residential building that erupted in the morning of January 9, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Scott Heins/ Getty Images/ AFP)
  • Firefighters work outside an apartment building after a fire in the Bronx, January 9, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
    Firefighters work outside an apartment building after a fire in the Bronx, January 9, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
  • Ladders are seen erected beside the apartment building where a fire occurred in the Bronx on January 9, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
    Ladders are seen erected beside the apartment building where a fire occurred in the Bronx on January 9, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
  • A curtain hangs outside a window at an apartment building in the Bronx on January 9, 2022, in New York, where a fatal fire occurred, in what the city's fire commissioner called one of the worst blazes in recent memory. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
    A curtain hangs outside a window at an apartment building in the Bronx on January 9, 2022, in New York, where a fatal fire occurred, in what the city's fire commissioner called one of the worst blazes in recent memory. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
  • Broken windows and charred bricks mark the exterior of a 19-story residential building after a fire erupted in the morning of January 9, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Scott Heins/Getty Images/AFP)
    Broken windows and charred bricks mark the exterior of a 19-story residential building after a fire erupted in the morning of January 9, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Scott Heins/Getty Images/AFP)

NEW YORK — Nineteen people, including nine children, have been killed in an apartment fire in New York City, in what the US city’s fire commissioner called one of the worst blazes in recent memory.

A fire official who was not authorized to speak publicly confirmed the death toll Sunday to The Associated Press, while a city official who was not authorized to speak publicly confirmed the number of children dead.

Dozens of people were injured in the Bronx fire, and at least 32 people were transported to five hospitals, with the majority of the victims suffering from severe smoke inhalation.

According to the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), approximately 200 firefighters responded to the scene Sunday at the Twin Park apartments, a 19-story building on East 181st Street.

Photos posted online showed a rescue ladder extended up to an eighth-floor window.

Firefighters “found victims on every floor and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. “That is unprecedented in our city.”

Nigro compared the severity of the fire to the Happy Land social club fire, which killed 87 people in 1990 when a man set fire to the building after getting into an argument with his former girlfriend and being thrown out of the club.

According to Nigro, Sunday’s fire originated in a duplex apartment spanning the second and third floors. Firefighters found the door to the apartment open, he said, which apparently allowed the fire to accelerate and spread smoke upward quickly.

The fire is not believed to be suspicious in origin but the cause is under investigation.

Sunday’s fire comes just days after a house fire in Philadelphia left 12 people — including eight children — dead.

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