A fire tore through a Bronx apartment building on Thursday, killing at least 12 people and leaving four others fighting for their lives in New York’s deadliest fire in decades, officials said.
The devastating blaze broke out shortly before 7:00pm (0000 GMT Friday) in the 25-apartment building opposite the Bronx Zoo, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the US financial capital.
A one-year-old child was among those killed in the fire on a bitterly cold night with temperatures well below zero, as Red Cross volunteers handed out blankets and set up makeshift shelter in a nearby school.
“This will rank as one of the worst losses of life to a fire in many, many years,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters.
“This is the worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city in at least a quarter century,” he added.
The fire began on the first floor and spread rapidly to all floors of the five-floor building on Prospect Avenue, officials said. The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear.
“I am sorry to report 12 New Yorkers are dead, including one child as young as one year old,” de Blasio told reporters after fire fighters extinguished the flames.
“There are four people critically injured who are fighting for their lives, other serious injuries as well,” he added.
Television footage showed fire fighters plucking panicked residents to safety from a fire escape.