A total of 12 people were killed when a blaze ripped through an apartment building in the Bronx on Thursday evening.Children aged one, two, seven are among the victims.Three women aged 19, 37 and 63 were also pronounced dead at the scene, say officials.Identities have not yet been released by officials, but NBC reports the two and seven-year-olds as Kylie and Kelesha Francis. A relative at the scene added their mother was Karen Francis.
Shawntay Young has been named as the 19-year-old victim.
At least four others are fighting for their lives.
Around 170 firefighters were called to the scene near the city’s zoo.
Witnesses described seeing people fleeing the building down fire escape ladders, some of them without any clothes on.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro called the fire, ‘historic in its magnitude,’ because of the number of lives lost. Excluding the September 11 attacks, it was the worst fire in the city since 87 people were killed at a social club fire in the Bronx in 1990.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said: ‘Tonight in the Bronx we’ve seen the worst fire tragedy in at least a quarter of a century. It is an unspeakable tragedy, and families have been torn apart.
‘I want to offer my prayers to all the families who have lost their loved ones this evening or who are struggling. I ask all New Yorkers to keep them in your prayers, too.’