A building in the Bronx, New York, caught fire on Jan 9, killing 17 people, including eight children, and injuring 63 with “severe smoke inhalation,” according to live reports.

The blaze was caused by a malfunctioning electric space heater, said the fire commissioner, per the report. Additionally, an apartment door did not close as residents were fleeing, which allowed smoke to spread throughout the building, per The New York Times.

  • “It appears the ability to have the smoke spread is due to the door being open,” Mayor Eric Adams said on “Good Morning America.” “There may have been a maintenance issue with this door and that is going to be part of the ongoing investigation,” he added.
  • New York City law requires that doors atomically close but the door in question didn’t because of a different design, while all others did. This is why the fire spread all through the 19-story building.

Out of the injured, 13 remain in critical condition. Adams said that the death toll could rise, per the report.

This is the deadliest fire in the city since 1990 where 87 people died in an intentional fire set to a Bronx nightclub.

Adams, who was sworn into the position only 10 days ago, promised to support victims, many of whom are Muslim immigrants from Gambia, a West African nation, per the report. He also assured that the information of those who are undocumented will not be passed on to the authorities.