Families and a whole neighborhood were left devastated by the fire in a Bronx apartment. Now, local leaders are working to make sure there isn’t another tragedy.
It’s “terrifying and traumatic to lose both your family and your home in a single tragedy,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres, who represents the area where the fire took place.
The fire on Sunday killed eight children. At least eight people are still in the hospital because of the fire, but at least 25 people have been treated and released. A CNN review of local hospitals found that at least 25 people have been treated and released.
A fire broke out in a duplex unit on the second and third floors of a 19-story on Bronx apartment building. Many of the people who died or were taken to the hospital were overcome by the smoke.
There was a fire in a bedroom because an electric space heater didn’t work, New York Mayor Eric Adams said Monday. New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro says that when people left a unit that had been set on fire, the door was left open, which let the flames spread.
The fire was only in that hallway, but the smoke rose and spread thru the rest of the building. A door that should have closed itself was not working properly, said Nigro on Monday. The door to his on Bronx apartment was also not working properly.
Nigro said that the building’s doors and reports that smoke alarms didn’t work are two things that are being looked into.
There will be a new task force made up of federal, state, and local leaders who want to make sure there aren’t any more tragedies. They want to make sure there are policies and laws that can stop it from happening again.
The task force was announced by Torres on Monday with the help of Bronx Boro President Vanessa Gibson and city council members Oswald Feliz and Pierina Sanchez.
People in New York City should be able to get hot water and heat. “We have a lot of problems with fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and exits,” Gibson said.
Legislation is just one part of a four-pronged plan by leaders. They also want to make sure that people who lost their homes get permanent housing, that people who were displaced can get back to their homes as soon as possible, and that people who were hurt get the help they need.
Torres said that in addition to looking into how New York enforces its laws about self-closing doors, the group would also look into whether the current minimum heating requirements are enough. Torres said that the heating in the Bronx building looked like it was working. However, residents still felt the need to use space heaters to stay warm.
In 1972, the building was built with money from the federal government. It may have been built without following New York City’s fire code, but that’s not likely to have caused the fire, Nigro said on Sunday.
At a news conference on Monday, representatives from the New York Firefighters Union said that the building did not have to follow city fire codes.
“When we write federal laws, we need to make sure that federal projects, which are regulated and subsidized by the federal government, must follow local fire and housing and building codes. Every American should be able to get safe and affordable housing, as well as housing that isn’t going to catch fire, “he asked CNN’s Jim Sciutto.