New York City officials say a devastating fire that killed nearly two dozen people in the bronx on Sunday was sparked by a malfunctioning space heater.
"This is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times here in the city of New York."
Mayor Eric Adams confirmed nine of the victims were children, and dozens more have been injured and hospitalized.
The deadly blaze broke out in an apartment spanning the second and third floors of the Twin Parks North West building, which provided affordable housing.
Fire commissioner Daniel Nigro said 200 firefighters battled the heavy smoke, which spread quickly because the apartment door was left open.
"This smoke extended the entire height of the building, completely unusual. Members found victims on every floor in stairwells and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest."
Nigro added that the building did not have external fire escapes, and residents were meant to evacuate through the smoke-filled interior stairways.
Officials said those who need housing would be registered and placed in hotels until it was safe to return to the building.
The catastrophe is likely to stir questions on safety standards in low-income city housing, after another deadly residential fire in Philadelphia earlier this week.
Neither the building's owner or property manager immediately responded to requests for information on its fire safety record and inspection history.