“We’re Trapped, Help!”: Toddler Starts Deadly Bronx Fire…Kills 12

Fire Fighters Respond / Image: nyc.gov
New York City Fire Dept.

The time between Christmas and New Year’s is supposed to be happy, and hopeful. But now, several NYC families are dealing with the worst catastrophe imaginable. 

A 101-year old, 5-story walk up on Prospect Avenue, one block from the Bronx Zoo, is the site of the deadliest fire in the city in 27 years.

And it was all because--officials and Mayor Bill de Blasio suspect--a 3-year-old boy was playing with a stove. 

His mother escaped with him and his sibling, but when she left the door open...the fire quickly exited her apartment and traveled up the stairs where it got to all the other apartments. (Remember: Fires need air to grow! If you shut the door to where a fire is, you can at least slow it down.)

Thierno Diallo, a resident who lives in a ground floor apartment, told USA Today he was asleep when he heard frantic banging on his door. “Only when I heard people screaming, ‘There’s a fire in the building!’” did he realize it was an emergency. He ran out into the freezing night in his bathrobe, a jacket and sandals.

“The smoke was crazy, people screaming, ‘Get out!,” a witness, Jamal Flicker, told the New York Post. “I heard a woman yelling, ‘We’re trapped, help!”

The 12 confirmed fatalities make this fire the deadliest in the City since an inferno at the Happy Land social club killed 87 people in 1990, The New York Times reported.

The New York Police Department says children who died in this fast-moving fire include girls ages 1, 2 and 7, and a boy whose age was not given. It’s not been stated, but we assume the boy who started the fire survived, along with his sibling and mom. An estimated 8 adults are dead. At least 7 people remain hospitalized, some in critical condition.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro called the fire “historic in its magnitude.” More than 170 New York City firefighters responded to the emergency. “Our hearts go out to every person who lost a loved one here and everyone who is fighting for their lives,” he said.

The company that owns the New York City apartment building says it is “shocked and saddened” by the tragedy. 

Here's a timeline of how it began and what happened in the aftermath.

Photos and video of the devastation were released today, showing icicles clinging to the charred remains of the building—a grim display of fire-and-ice, as the fire raged on one of the coldest nights of the year. Those who didn’t lose their lives have lost their homes. Just horrible.

If you’re able, there’s are ways to help those devastated by this terrible tragedy.

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