A five-alarm fire at a high-rise apartment building has left at least 19 people dead and over a dozen critically injured in the New York borough of the Bronx. Many are hospitalized with smoke inhalation.

The fire broke out on the third floor of the 19-story building on Sunday morning. While the original cause remains unknown, firefighters were called to the site around 11am local time and say the door to the apartment where it began was left open, allowing the conflagration to spread more quickly.

Videos from the scene showed flames and smoke billowing out a third-story window as people climbed down a ladder mounted by rescuers.


Over sixty people were hurt, according to city officials, with 13 hospitalized in critical condition. A resident cited by the Post commented that the high death toll might be partially due to a fire alarm that goes off “all the time,” claiming “people on the third, fourth, fifth [floors] went about their day until they saw smoke.”

Mayor Eric Adams called it one of the worst fires in the city’s history, declaring the impact would be felt by everyone. Fire Department Chief Daniel Nigro said victims were found on “every floor” and were being taken out “in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” calling the situation “unprecedented in our city.”


Some 200 firefighters were sent to battle the fire in the Fordham Heights neighborhood before it was finally controlled. City officials are mobilizing resources to the area near East 181st St and Valentine Avenue, where the building is located, to help displaced residents and their family members.

The death toll of 19 makes Sunday’s blaze the worst in over three decades and the deadliest since a fire at Bronx nightclub Happy Land killed 87 people in 1990. The unexpected tragedy came just days into the new year, after a 2021 in which fire fatalities jumped 16% in New York City, according to FDNY data.