NYC fire victims include resident who rescued others

Hannah Rogers
December 31, 2017

Officials say New York City's deadliest residential fire in decades spread through every floor of a Bronx apartment building within a matter of minutes, killing 12 people and sending other residents scrambling down fire escapes to safety. But they left the apartment door open, and it acted like a chimney that drew smoke and flames into a stairwell.

Some residents made it down fire escapes.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro called the fire, "historic in its magnitude", because of the number of lives lost.

Nigro said firefighters saved some people, but "this loss is unprecedented".

"The smoke, I guess, overcame her". "When he went to bring a fifth person out, the fire caught up with him". "I'm still in shock", he said. Four of the victims were children, including one- and two-year-old toddlers. His family checked four hospitals. "They were burned, even little kids on the stretchers, burned", a resident of the building told ABC station WABC in New York City. "Four at one time - what do I do?" "Why do you have to save everybody?'" she said.

"The first story I heard is that she was up top and she couldn't get down", said George, 19, fighting back tears.

Emmanuel Mensah, 26, who immigrated from Ghana several years ago, had been training in Georgia, his family said. "It feels so surreal".

A local school opened its doors for those displaced by the fire to seek shelter. Investigators will look at whether the door to the apartment was defective or if an obstruction prevented it from closing, he said. Such violations are common: The city cited 7,752 of them past year. Police on Saturday, Dec. 30, released the identities of an additional seven victims of New York City's deadliest fire in decades, including a 7-month-old girl among the dozen people who lost their lives.

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D&E Equities said through spokesman Ronn Torossian that it is communicating with the city about the Thursday fire in the Bronx.

The last deadly NYC fire was in 1990, in which 87 people were killed at the Happy Land Social Club when a fire broke out. A fire in a home in another part of the Bronx killed 10 people, including nine children, in 2007.

About 170 firefighters worked in bone-chilling cold, just 15 degrees, to rescue about a dozen people from the building.

Footage taken at the site shows charred walls and stairs inside the building. I couldn't see the door. Some escaped barefoot or in their nightclothes. He had plans of one day joining the military police. With their mother at work, the siblings checked and saw the smoke.

Some tenants of the building climbed down fire escapes.

Emmanuel Mensah, 28, as a solder in the Army National Guard was awarded a medal for marksmanship.

"That's my prayer", Bredu said.

NBC reports the brick building was old enough that it wasn't required to have a sprinkler system.

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