Bronx fire kills seventeen people

A personal space heater on January 9, 2022 started a deadly fire in a Bronx high-rise, killing seventeen people, including multiple children.

According to the Associated Press, about 200 firefighters responded to the fast-burning blaze. Automatic closing doors that prevent the spread of toxic smoke and flames are expected to be to blame for the death of so many people.

A spokeswoman for the owner of the building said, during July maintenance “checked that the apartment’s self-closing door[s] were working.” Despite this statement, New York City inspectors have still reported having issued violations for these self-closing doors, due to their malfunction and failure to close during this fire.

Residents that lived in the building were reported to have not thought twice about the fire alarm due to its constant sounding, triggered by occupants of the building smoking in the stairwells. Adequate heat in the building is also being blamed for this tragedy.

When Associated Press talked to some survivors they said the cold weather of winter caused them to continuously run space heaters in their apartment, “because the building’s heat [did not] work for nothing,” said Stefan Beauvogui, a resident and survivor of the blaze.

Despite various complaints, the heat never seemed to get fixed. New apartment buildings are required to have sprinkler systems and doors that automatically swing shut to contain toxic smoke and reduce the oxygen from the fire. To this housing building though, those rules did not apply.

This fire is raising many concerns and questions on the regulation difference depending on location and the importance of following safety requirements.