12 people killed in apartment building fire

Crisbel Martinez escaped the deadly Bronx fire CBS NEWS

Crisbel Martinez escaped the deadly Bronx fire CBS NEWS

Some tenants of the building climbed down fire escapes.

Eight-month-old Amora Serenity Vidal and her grandmother, Maria Batiz, 56, have also been identified as victims in the fire. Batiz, who lived in the building, was at work when the fire started just before 7 p.m. "I heard a woman yelling, 'We're trapped, help!"

"I tried calling her". "Later on at around 1am i heard the news i never thought i would hear".

Authorities said the boy was three-and-a-half years old.

Soon, the flames were shooting up the open stairwell, trapping residents on the higher floors.

Those escaping the fire rushed out into 15 degree temperatures.

"Only when I heard people screaming, 'There's a fire in the building!'" he said.

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Mr De Blasio later tweeted his thanks to the New York Fire Department "for their bravery and quick action". Victims died on various floors.

Esther Sakyi, 50, said she was alone in her bedroom when she felt the room getting hot. It took him a moment to realize what was happening.

"A father ran into the building, he couldn't get in", a witness named Xanral Collins said.

More than 160 firefighters responded to the four-alarm blaze.

Four more were left fighting for their lives after the deadliest residential fire to hit New York City in at least a quarter century.

The death toll surpassed the 10 who died, including nine children, in a four-story home in another part of the Bronx in 2007.

Excluding the 9/11 attacks, it was the worst fire in the city since 87 people were killed at a social club fire in the Bronx in 1990.

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"From what we know right now, there was not a problem with the building", de Blasio said. "People died on various floors of the apartment". Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro (NY'-groh) said the fire raced through an open apartment door and up the five-story building's stairwell, chasing residents as they fled.

The building's owner, Howard Alkoff, could not be reached for comment.

Commissioner Daniel Nigro (NY'-groh) says the blaze was accidentally ignited by a 3 ½-year-old boy playing with the burners on his mother's stove.

Four people are critically injured and are "fighting for their lives" he added.

"Hold your families close and keep those families here in the Bronx in your prayers", de Blasio said in a message to New Yorkers. Some fled the building without shoes or coats and the Red Cross handed out blankets to people on the street.

The cause was under investigation.

Author information: Abigail Hauslohner is a national reporter who covers Islam, Arab affairs and America. "You think of those kids [who were killed] and you just imagine what those families are going through". Eli Rosenberg is a reporter on the Washington Post's General Assignment team.

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