At least 19 dead and dozens injured in NYC Bronx apartment fire

By Mike Hayes, Maureen Chowdhury and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 7:06 a.m. ET, January 10, 2022
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9:35 p.m. ET, January 9, 2022

HUD Secretary tweets condolences for Bronx fire and says department is ready to assist

From CNN's Colin McCullough

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge expressed her sympathies for the fire that claimed 19 lives today in the Bronx.

8:12 p.m. ET, January 9, 2022

Bronx apartment building residents being housed in a middle school next door, fire official says

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

A man wearing a blanket is seen at the scene of a fatal fire at an apartment building in the Bronx. (Jeenah Moon/AP)
A man wearing a blanket is seen at the scene of a fatal fire at an apartment building in the Bronx. (Jeenah Moon/AP)

Christina Farrell, first deputy commissioner of NYC emergency management, told CNN's Phil Mattingly Sunday that residents who lived in the Bronx apartment building are now being housed at a middle school next door.

"We have all the residents here. We’ve been able to give them food, a warm space, water, any short-term needs that they had. People brought their pets and so we are in the process of finding people shelter this evening," Farrell said. "We work with the Red Cross, we have hotel rooms and have other resources available. And so we will be making sure every family has a safe, warm space to sleep in tonight."

A service center will be set up Monday, Farrell said.

"We’ll be hopeful that many of them will be able to go back into their apartment in the coming days," she said. "But for the people that are out long-term, we will work with them and the state to get them appropriate housing.”

Farrell also confirmed what Mayor Eric Adams previously said about the names of building residents seeking government assistance not being turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Many people impacted from the fire are Muslim and from Gambia, a small nation on the east coast of Africa.

“This is not about anyone’s status or where anyone came from, this is about New Yorkers that are in need, that need services and we’re able to provide those services while everyone deals with their grief," Farrell said.

8:00 p.m. ET, January 9, 2022

Covid-19 related staffing challenges 'played absolutely no role' in the FDNY’s response to the 5-alarm fire, FDNY commissioner says

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

 New York City Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro addresses the media in the aftermath of a deadly fire at a 19-story building on January 9, in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Scott Heins/Getty Images)
 New York City Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro addresses the media in the aftermath of a deadly fire at a 19-story building on January 9, in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Covid-19 related staffing challenges “played absolutely no role” in the FDNY’s response to the 5-alarm fire in the Bronx, fire commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters. 

“It's a challenge, but every one of our units is fully staffed -- fire and EMS,” he said.

The 19-story residential building -- built in 1972 -- was federally funded, so it could have potentially been built outside of the New York City fire code, Nigro added. However, that didn’t play a factor in Sunday’s fire, he said.

7:02 p.m. ET, January 9, 2022

FDNY Commissioner says many firefighters ran out of oxygen while fighting the Bronx apartment fire

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

An aerial view of the apartment building after a deadly fire in the Bronx, on Sunday.
An aerial view of the apartment building after a deadly fire in the Bronx, on Sunday. (Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters Sunday there were no fire escapes on the apartment building that went up in flames, but there were stairways for escape.

"The residents should know where the stairwells are and I think some of them could not escape because of the volume of smoke," Nigro said. "I believe there's 120 apartments in the building. There's a very large number of people right now who need a place to stay."

He added fighting the fire was a very difficult job for rescue crews on scene.

"Smoke and heat travel upward, that we know -- that's what happened here," Nigro said.

"It was a very difficult job for our members. Their air tanks contained a certain amount of air -- they ran out of air, many of our members -- and they continued working to try to get as many people out as they could."

6:42 p.m. ET, January 9, 2022

Politicians react to Bronx fire

From CNN's Gregory Clary

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her reaction to Sunday’s fire in the Bronx. Ocasio-Cortez represents part of the Bronx, but not the part where the fire took place.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also tweeted about the Bronx fire Sunday.

6:49 p.m. ET, January 9, 2022

Names of Bronx fire victims who ask for government assistance will not be turned over to ICE, NYC mayor says

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

A worker who clean debris walks outside the scene after a deadly fire at an apartment building in the Bronx, on Sunday.
A worker who clean debris walks outside the scene after a deadly fire at an apartment building in the Bronx, on Sunday. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

The names of individuals who request government assistance following the five-alarm fire in the Bronx’s "heavy immigrant community" will not be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at a news conference Sunday.

"If you need assistance, your names will not be turned over to ICE or any other institution. We want people to be comfortable in coming forward, and it's imperative that we connect with those on the ground to make sure they get that message and that word out," Adams said.

The mayor said the city would utilize Muslim leaders to connect with residents, as many people impacted from the fire are Muslim and from The Gambia, a small nation on the east coast of Africa.

10:14 p.m. ET, January 9, 2022

Rep. Ritchie Torres says housing in the Bronx is 'quite old'

From CNN's Jim Acosta

Emergency personnel work at the scene of a fatal fire at an apartment building in the Bronx on Sunday.
Emergency personnel work at the scene of a fatal fire at an apartment building in the Bronx on Sunday. (Yuki Iwamura/AP)

Torres told CNN's Jim Acosta Sunday housing in the Bronx is quite old.

The apartment building that caught fire Sunday was built in the 1970s, but Torres says there are many buildings in the borough even older.

"Not every building has a sprinkler system. Not every building has a functioning alarm. Not every building has a self-closing door. Many buildings lack what we would consider 21st century standards of fire safety," Torres said.
6:57 p.m. ET, January 9, 2022

Rep. Ritchie Torres says he's skeptical about space heaters because they're a fire hazard

From CNN's Jim Acosta

Residents take refuge at a school cafeteria after a fire erupted at their apartment building in the Bronx on Sunday.
Residents take refuge at a school cafeteria after a fire erupted at their apartment building in the Bronx on Sunday. (Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Torres told CNN's Jim Acosta he's skeptical of space heaters.

"I’m skeptical about the use of space heaters because it’s an extraordinary fire hazard. There is often a chronic lack of heat and hot water, so people rely on space heaters to get heat. In addition to the space heaters in this building, the door was left open causing the fire to spread wildly and rapidly throughout the building," Torres said.

Torres said officials have to warn people about the fire hazards that come with the use of space heaters.

"We have to entrust upon people the need to close the door in the event there’s a fire to prevent it from spreading," he said. "And we have to ensure these federally-funded developments comply with local fire code."

10:23 p.m. ET, January 9, 2022

Rep. Ritchie Torres: 'I'm in a state of shock'

From CNN's Jim Acosta

Firefighters work outside an apartment building after a fire in the Bronx, on Sunday.
Firefighters work outside an apartment building after a fire in the Bronx, on Sunday. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Rep. Ritchie Torres, who was born and raised in the Bronx and whose district covers much of the South Bronx, told CNN's Jim Acosta Sunday, "I'm in a state of shock."

"The Bronx has been the scene of three catastrophic fires in the last 30 years," Torres said.

"I have constituents who have seen the world around them collapse. They’ve lost their children, their whole families, their homes," Torres added.

Torres said Sunday's fire is a "level of trauma and tragedy most of us will never know, and it’s going to take a long time to not only provide these families with temporary shelter, but to connect them to counseling and mental health services and enable them to recover from what has been an unspeakable tragedy."