New York | New York Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday that he had reduced the temporary toll after an accidental and spectacular fire in a building in the working-class Bronx in New York on Sunday killed 17 people, including eight children.
Back on the site Monday, the new city councilor of Megalopolis indicated that “nine adults and eight children” had lost their lives due to fires and very thick smoke caused by an incident with auxiliary heating in the apartment.
The previous temporary toll since Sunday afternoon has killed 19 people, including nine children and adolescents.
New York Fire Chief Daniel Negro said numbers could still fluctuate, with more than 60 people injured, half of them seriously.
After speaking Sunday at the “worst” fires in recent New York history, Eric Adams spoke of “unspeakable tragedy” on Monday and stressed its “global” role in the cultural mosaic of neighbors such as the Bronx.
New York firefighters on Sunday described the victims from a 19-story HLM-type brick building “found at every level and moved them to the heart and respiratory state”. Dense black suffocating smoke rose from the building.
Thirty-year-old Michael Joseph, who lives in the building, testified to AFPTV that the smoke from the fires was “thick enough that we could not breathe, we could not breathe”.
Another resident on the 11th floor, “Asthma” Miguel Enrique, told AFP he did not have time to “grab a coat and get off the elevator” because the hall was black with smoke.
Mr Adams repeated the message sent by firefighters with every disaster in a building: “Close the door” to prevent drafts from spreading fires and smoke.
Last Wednesday, 12 people, including eight children, were killed in a house fire in Philadelphia.
A fire in the same district in the Bronx in December 2017 killed 13 people, including four children. A three-and-a-half-year-old girl is excited about playing with a gas stove.
New York is plagued by a massive housing crisis in various neighborhoods, with buildings and apartments often falling into disrepair and poorly maintained.