A massive fire swept through a five-story apartment building in New York, killing at least 12 people including a toddler and injuring four others in the deadliest blaze to hit the city in decades.
The fire broke out around 6:50 pm (local time) on Thursday on the first floor of the Prospect Avenue apartment in the Bronx borough, officials said.
The fire then spread rapidly to all floors of the five-floor building on Prospect Avenue, officials said.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio during a late night briefing outside the building, near the Bronx Zoo, called the fire the “worst fire tragedy in this city in at least a quarter century.”
“This is the worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city, it will rank as one of the worst losses in a fire in many years,” the mayor said.
More than 160 firefighters helped bring the blaze under control.
“The victims, ranging in age from 1 to 50, died on various floors of the apartment building…This tragedy is, without question, historic in its magnitude. Our hearts go out to every family who lost a loved one here and everyone fighting for their lives” New York Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Niger said.
He said that the tragedy is “historic in its magnitude”. At least 12 people were rescued, but the search of the building continues, and the death toll could rise further, the mayor warned.
“There are four people critically injured who are fighting for their lives, other serious injuries as well,” the Mayor stated.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in a tweet said that he is closely monitoring the situation.
“As always we are thankful for our first responders. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families tonight, he said.
The building, which had more than 20 flats, was built just over 100 years ago, the New York Times reported. The report also said that the building was not fireproof.
The blaze was the worst in the city since 87 people were killed in a 1990 inferno at a Bronx social club.
(With inputs from agencies)