With NYC tragedy come vital lessons

Life-saving measures must become second nature

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Editorials

January 10, 2022 - 9:06 AM

New York suffered its deadliest fire in decades Sunday when at least 19 people perished in a Bronx apartment. (Theodore Parisienne/New York Daily News/TNS)

A sickened New York mourns the deaths of at least 19 Bronxites, including nine children, from an apartment fire that poured smoke throughout a Fordham Heights high-rise. While the city digests the magnitude of the tragedy and speedily aids those whose lives are suddenly torn apart, it must work hard to fully understand what if anything might have prevented a loss of life on this scale.

An electric space heater caught fire in a duplex apartment spanning the second and third floors of the 19-story building. When the occupants fled, the smoke followed them through the open door. Firefighters who rushed to the scene found victims on every floor.

“We’ve stressed this over and over,” said Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro, “the door to that apartment was left open causing the fire to spread and the smoke to spread.” Let every New Yorker absorb that message: Only by closing doors can the smoke be contained and the fire be deprived of oxygen.

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