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17 People Killed in Bronx Fire, The Deadliest Fire Accident in New York in 30 Years

March 23, 2022
ny buildings at night

17 people, which included eight kids, were killed in a Bronx apartment fire on January 9, 2021. The youngest victim was only two years old. The Sunday morning fire is considered one of the deadliest fire accidents in New York in 30 years. More than 60 individuals were seriously injured and sent to various hospitals in critical condition.

Approximately 200 firefighters battled the inferno at Twin Parks, a 19-storey, 120-unit apartment building on the East 181st St. Most of the building occupants were Muslim immigrants from Gambia, a West African nation. The cause of death for all the people who perished in the fire is smoke inhalation. Around a dozen critically injured victims were also transferred to special burn units in the Bronx, Westchester County, and Manhattan after they were stabilized at local hospitals.

According to firefighters, they found victims trapped in stairwells on all floors, and they were all in cardiac and respiratory arrest when they were taken out of the building. Investigators from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) found that an electric space heater was the cause of the fire. The heater, which was in an apartment located on the 3rd floor, was continuously running for a prolonged time and ignited a mattress.

The blaze consumed the apartment that was on two floors and a portion of the hallway. Unfortunately, the residents of the apartment “left” the doors open. The smoke spread rapidly through the open doors (despite a law that requires the doors to be outfitted with a spring for automatic closing) as the victims scrambled to escape the inferno.

The building owners allege that maintenance workers recently repaired the lock on the door that failed to self-close and found the self-closing mechanism working properly.

Fire Victims Sues The Apartment Building’s Property Owners

Residents of the Twin Parks apartment building have filed a lawsuit against the LICH Investment Group, which is one of the building’s owners. Two residents have filed their lawsuit in the Bronx’s supreme civil court. The attorneys are pushing for class-action status, alleging that the building’s improperly maintained safety features contributed to the spread of the fire and the high fatality count.

The plaintiff’s attorneys also filed claims against New York agencies and officials because the building’s supposedly self-closing doors failed to work properly during the fire, letting the smoke fill the stairwells and hallways rapidly. The plaintiffs say that the doors failed to close because they were not maintained properly. NYC fire codes require self-closing mechanisms on apartment doors, so they will close automatically.

Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in The Bronx Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a fire or any kind of accident that occurred because of another person or entity’s negligence, please don’t hesitate to discuss your case with the Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, P.C. law firm’s personal injury lawyers in the Bronx. To set up your free case evaluation, you can send us a message online or call 212-285-3300.