Ten adults and nine children are dead after a five-alarm fire ripped through a building in New York City on Sunday, Mayor Eric Adams confirmed in a tweet.
The fire started around 11 a.m. ET at a 19-story residential building on East 181st Street in the Bronx. The blaze was knocked down before 1 p.m., NBC New York reported, after roughly 200 firefighters responded to the scene.
“This is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times,” Adams said during a news conference Sunday afternoon.
At least 63 people were injured, city officials said. Earlier in the day, New York City Fire Department Commissioner Dan Nigro said at a press conference he anticipated “numerous fatalities.” He added many of the victims suffered from severe smoke inhalation.
Nigro said the door to the duplex apartment where the fire originated was left open, causing the smoke and fire to spread throughout the building at a rapid pace. “We’ve spread the word, ‘close the door, close the door,'” to slow the spread, he said.
Firefighters “found victims on every floor and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” he added.
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire, which will be investigated. Nigro said he doesn’t believe the source will be deemed suspicious.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Twitter she was “horrified” by the fire.
“The entire State of New York stands with New York City,” she said.
The Bronx fire comes just days after a fire tore through a Philadelphia rowhouse, killing 12 people, eight of whom were children.