Bronx fire: Twelve die in New York apartment block blaze

At least 12 people have been killed and four others critically injured in a fire at an apartment building in the Bronx borough of New York.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the fire was the deadliest in the city for at least 25 years. The victims include a one-year-old child, he added.

New York Fire Department at a fire in the Bronx borough of New York City, on 28 December 2017

The cause of the fire, on Prospect Avenue, near Fordham University and the Bronx Zoo, is not yet clear.

More than 160 firefighters helped bring the blaze under control.

Officials said the first alarm sounded at the five-storey building at about 19:00 local time (00:00 GMT).

The fire started on the first floor and quickly spread. Television footage showed firefighters carrying people to safety from fire escapes.

Residents who managed to escape huddled outside in bitterly cold conditions. The Red Cross handed out blankets to those on the street, as some residents fled the building without shoes or coats.

New York City is experiencing a severe cold snap, and as temperatures dropped to around -10C (13F) the water from the firefighters’ hoses could be seen turning to ice on the ground.

New York Fire Department at a fire in the Bronx borough of New York City, on 28 December 2017

Speaking at the scene, Mr De Blasio said a nearby school had been set up to shelter those evacuated from the building.

“We’re here at the scene of an unspeakable tragedy,” Mr De Blasio said.

“Tonight, here in the Bronx there are families that have been torn apart. This is the worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city in at least a quarter century. Based on the information we have now, this will rank as one as the worst losses of life to a fire in many, many years.”

Evacuees wear blankets as they stand after a fire at an apartment building in Bronx, New York, U.S., December 28, 2017.

He said the fire service had managed to rescue at least 12 people from the building.

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