Bronx fire caused by three-year-old playing with stove

Officials say Bronx fire started by boy who was playing with the burners on the kitchen stove.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff,

Firefighters at scene of Bronx fire
Firefighters at scene of Bronx fire

A three-year-old boy's screams alerted his mother that a fire had erupted in their first-floor apartment in the Bronx on Thursday night, CNN reported Friday.

The boy had been playing with the burners on the kitchen stove when the fire broke out, New York City fire officials said.

When the mother fled the burning apartment with the boy and his two-year-old sibling, she made a fatal mistake -- she left the apartment door open.

The tragic result was the deaths of at least 12 people, including at least four children, in the deadliest fire in New York City in more than 25 years.

The apartment's stairway acted "like a chimney" as the fire burst from the apartment, feeding the flames and allowing them to spread throughout the building, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Friday.

The boy in the first-floor apartment had a history of playing with the stove burners, Nigro said. The fire commissioner reminded all New Yorkers of his department's frequent messages emphasizing the crucial step residents must take in the event of a fire.

"Close the door, close the door, close the door," Nigro said, according to CNN.

He added that he is unsure whether all the smoke detectors were working in the building.

Records from a city housing agency show one of the apartments on the building's first floor reported defective carbon monoxide and smoke detectors months ago. It's unclear if those issues were resolved and whether they played any part in Thursday's fire.

Seven civilians and seven firefighters were injured in the fire, according to the fire department. Four injured civilians are in critical condition.

The fire started on the first floor and spread quickly, Nigro said earlier. The victims died on various floors of the apartment building.

The first call about the fire came at 6:51 p.m. ET Thursday, and the fire department responded within three minutes, Nigro said.

The walk-up building contained 29 units, according to public property records. At least 12 people were rescued and are expected to survive, the mayor said Thursday night.

Thursday night's apartment fire in the Bronx is the deadliest in New York City since 1990, when 87 people died in a blaze at the Happy Land social club.

In 2007, 10 people -- nine of them children -- were killed in fire at a Bronx residence after a space heater cord overheated.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)