At least 12 people have died in a four-alarm fire that burned through a Bronx apartment building in New York on Thursday evening, city officials said.
In a briefing outside the building, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the blaze was the “worst fire tragedy in at least a quarter of a century.”
“It is an unspeakable tragedy, and families have been torn apart,” the mayor said in a briefing outside the building after more than 160 firefighters put the fire out.
The fire was started by a child playing with a stove on the first floor of the 100-year-old building on Prospect Ave. around 7 p.m. ET, fire commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said in a news conference on Friday. From there, the fire spread quickly, he said.
The victims were found on various levels of the five-story building. The New York Police Department said in a statement that of the 12 killed, at least four were children: one boy, three girls. The youngest victim was a 1-year-old child. As of last night, the mayor said four people were in critical condition and were fighting for their lives.
“This tragedy is, without question, historic in its magnitude,” Nigro said.
According to CNN, online records for the New York City Housing Preservation and Development showed that the building had at least two violations in August, one each for a defective carbon monoxide detector and a defective smoke detector.