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19 People Died and New Yorkers Haven’t Faced This Deadly a Fire in 30 years.

The Bronx is mourning after a tragic high-rise fire claimed nineteen lives on Sunday. Dozens more were injured by smoke inhalation. It’s been over three decades since New York has suffered a fire of this scale.

Nearly half of the current death toll, 19, are children. The casualties will likely rise as hospitalized people succumb to smoke inhalation injuries sustained, says New York City’s fire commissioner.

The building, constructed in the 70’s, has a history of safety violations concerning ventilation. Officials say Sunday’s raging fire was caused by a broken space heater.

The building has no fire escapes.

Records show that the apartments’ residents made repeated complaints about broken ventilation systems, exposed electrical wiring, and malfunctioning doors.

Investigators have found that on Sunday, these broken doors let smoke envelop the inside of the building, ending lives. Investigators also found that the fire itself was relatively small, only charring one unit and one hallway in a 120-unit, 19-storey building.

Many of those living in the apartment were in affordable housing. There were large communities of Muslim people and Gambian people.

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