Officials in New York City said that a three-year-old child was playing with a stove, causing a fire in a city apartment building, killing 12 people, including four children.
The child’s mother told officials investigating the fire, which is the worst in town, and that her child had a history of having fun with the stove in his family’s apartment on the first floor.
The city fire department commissioner told reporters in a press conference that the child, who was left alone in the kitchen, started screaming before 7 pm local time on Thursday, as smoke and fire began to fill the place.
The mother picked up her baby and younger brother and ran outside, leaving the apartment door open.
The fire moved from the entrance to the apartment to the next floors of the five-storey building and quickly spread.
“People didn’t have much time to act, they couldn’t go down the stairs,” he added. And whoever tried … was killed. “
New York Police said children aged one, two and seven and a boy whose age was unknown died in the fire, in addition to four men and four women.
The authorities stated that firefighting teams had rescued 12 people from the building and that four injured people were in the hospital in critical condition. More than 160 firefighters went to the site.
The Red Cross said that at least 14 families were displaced by the fire, and four of them were transferred to hotels.
“There are about ten families we have not contacted yet,” the spokesman added
City records indicate that the building, which houses 26 apartments, has at least six building code violations. One of the violations was recorded due to a broken smoke detector in an apartment on the first floor, and it was not clear whether the failure of the device had any role in the fire.