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Investigation into Bronx high-rise fire continues

New York -- A Bronx fire on Sunday in a 19-story high-rise apartment building killed 17 people,

including 8 children is under investigation. 

A malfunctioning electric space heater apparently started the fire, which spread throughout the apartment when its front door and a door on the 15th floor remained open. The doors should have been self-closing and blunted the spread of smoke, but fire officials said they were not. It was not clear if the doors failed mechanically or if they had been manually disabled. 

The apartment door was not obstructed, according to fire officials. Firefighters carried out limp children and gave them oxygen and continued making rescues even after their air supplies ran out as they battled heavy smoke that blocked some residents from escaping and incapacitated others as they tried to flee.Glenn Corbett, a fire science professor at John Jay College in New York City, said closed doors are vital to containing fire and smoke, especially in buildings that do not have automatic sprinkler systems.

“It’s pretty remarkable that the failure of one door could lead to how many deaths we had here, but that’s the reality of it,” Corbett said. “That one door played a critical role in allowing the fire to spread and the smoke and heat to spread vertically through the building.”

Bronx Park Phase III Preservation LLC, the group that owns the building released a statement:
“We are devastated by the unimaginable loss of life caused by this profound tragedy,” the statement said.
The group alsosaid they were working to assist residents and cooperating with the city and fire department

“This tragedy is not going to define us,” Adams said. “It is going to show our resiliency.” Mayor Eric Adams said.

The investigation continues.

Wnctimes by Marjorie Farrington January 11, 2022

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