A Toddler Playing With a Stove Caused Horrific New York Fire That Killed 12

Firetruck
AMR ALFIKY/Reuters

Early this morning, tragedy hit an apartment building in the Bronx, NY. A devastating fire set the building a blaze, killing 12 people and injuring 15. Among those who perished were four children. Now, authorities have revealed the fire is believed to have been caused by a 3-year-old who was playing with a burner on the stove.
 

 

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According to Reuters, the young boy had a history of playing with the family stove, and must have turned the burner on while unattended in the family kitchen. After crying out for his mother in fear, she quickly grabbed her son and his younger sibling and fled their apartment, leaving their door wide open, which authorities say allowed the fire to spread. 

In a press conference this morning, Detective Daniel Nigro explained, "The stairway acted like a chimney. People had very little time to react. They couldn’t get back down the stairs. Those that tried perished.”

And as the flames traveled up the stairs, they were fanned higher by the fresh oxygen from when residents flung open their doors, Reuters reports. 

couple crying
EDUARDO MUNOZ/Reuters

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The fire, which is the deadliest blaze to hit New York since 1990, ultimately traveled up five flights of the building, killing 12 people, including four children, ages 1, 2, 7, and one child whose age is unknown. The 1-year-old reportedly perished in her grandmother's arms as the two waited in the bathtub for help to arrive. The Daily Mail reports the grandmother, Maria Batiz, called her daughter, and told her, "We're going to die in here."

As victims of the fire scrambled to get out of the burning building, a witness on the scene, Rafael Gonzalez tells CNN, "All I saw was just kids in the fire escape ... And the flames were still going." 


EDUARDO MUNOZ/Reuters

There is no silver lining to a story as tragic as this one, but Detective Nigro did have some words of advice for parents with young children. "Children starting fires is not rare," he explained in the press conference. 

He also reminded to parents to never leave their children unsupervised in the kitchen. And, most importantly, if you have to flee your apartment due to a fire, "close the door, close the door, close the door."

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