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A major fire that occurred in a New York City high-rise building Sunday morning injured more than 63 people, officials said. Thirty-two of the injuries were life-threatening, and officials said they expected there would be fatalities.
“This is a horrific, horrific, painful moment for the city of New York,” Mayor Eric Adams said during a press conference.
“This is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times here in the city of New York,” he added.
Fire officials did not say what sparked the blaze, but FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said it did not appear to be suspicious. Fire marshals were investigating the cause.
According to the FDNY, about 200 of its members responded to the five-alarm fire at 333 East 181 Street in the Bronx on Sunday morning, after the department received several calls of a fire from residents in the upper floors of the high-rise building.
Nigro said units arrived at the fire within three minutes of the first call of a fire at a duplex apartment in the 19-story building. He said the fire spread because the door to the apartment was left open.
“This smoke extended the entire height of the building – completely unusual,” Nigro said. “Members found victims on every floor in stairways and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest.”
Nigro said all of the injuries were due to severe smoke inhalation.