Five police officers and nine other victims suffered from smoke inhalation
A possible gas leak could be the cause for an explosion at a Bronx home that killed a 77-year-old woman and injured at least nine other people.
The massive fire at the three-story home occurred Tuesday just before 11 a.m. on Fox Street near Intervale Avenue, and investigators are trying to figure out what happened, the New York Post reports.
The dead woman’s 82-year-old sister was also injured in the fire and she is said to be in critical condition, as is a 68-year-old woman, authorities said. Five police officers and nine other victims suffered from smoke inhalation and were treated at the local hospital.
“Clearly the action of FDNY and NYPD and residents, their quick response really allowed many who were part of this crisis not to in some way be seriously injured or to die, so I want to thank them,” said Mayor Eric Adams, who noted that someone reported the smell of gas.
ConEd reportedly shut off the gas on the block amid the NYPD’s investigation with the fire marshal to determine the cause of the blast.
“There were two sisters from the fire building that were inside the building when it exploded, and our units saw them laying on the ground outside, and, working in conjunction with our EMS units, we took those people and we got them to a hospital quickly,” FDNY Chief of Operations John Hodgens said. “Unfortunately, one of them has succumbed to their injuries and has passed away.”
Hodgens noted that the “buildings directly adjacent to where the explosion was are completely destroyed,” he said.
“They’ll have to be demolished,” said Hodgens.
“It was just a mess. It was ugly, very ugly. Lot of fire, smoke,” said neighbor Cesar Garcia, per New York Post.
“I was watching TV, my cat was looking out the window, and I heard a boom. My cat jumped down and I started smelling smoke,” said neighbor George Tyson. “It could have been any one of these buildings blowing up.”
“We as a borough are absolutely devastated. Yet another fire that we’re facing here in the South Bronx, in Longwood,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, referring to the nine adults and eight children who were killed in a fire at a Bronx high-rise just over a week ago.
The Associated Press reported that an electric space heater set up in one of the bedrooms of a duplex on the third floor of the building had been on for a “prolonged period” when an unspecified malfunction set off the fire around 11 a.m.
The youngest victim of the city’s deadliest blaze in three decades was 2 years old, according to NBC News.
The fire left 63 people injured and 32 hospitalized.
FDNY members continue to operate at a 2-alarm fire at 869 Fox Street in the Bronx. pic.twitter.com/LDjt7faEJs
— FDNY (@FDNY) January 18, 2022
“The marshals have determined through physical evidence, through firsthand accounts from the residents, that this fire started in a bedroom in a portable electric heater,” said New York City Fire Department Commissioner Dan Nigro at a news conference attended by Mayor Adams, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, and New York Senator Chuck Schumer, according to NBC News.
The space heater was reportedly used to supplement the warmth provided in the Bronx building — heat that was functioning at the time. However, the functionality of the building’s fire alarms remains part of the investigation, theGrio reported.
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