Huge fire seriously injures 15 people near the Bronx Zoo

  • At least 12 people have been killed and 15 more seriously injured in a huge fire in the Bronx in New York City
  • Blaze engulfed a five-story apartment building near the historic zoo, and at least 170 firefighters are on scene
  • One witness fears children may be among dead and another witness said he saw flames near the trash cans

By Valerie Edwards For Dailymail.com and Associated Press

Published: 20:12 EST, 28 December 2017 | Updated: 22:18 EST, 28 December 2017

The Fire Department of New York says a blaze raging in a Bronx apartment building has killed at least 11, including a one-year-old child, and seriously injured 15 people.

Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed during a press conference that four of the 15 injured are in critical condition and fighting for their lives at a local hospital.

'This is the worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city in at least a quarter of a century,' de Blasio said, adding that the fire will rank as one of the 'worst losses of life to a fire' in many years.

The Fire Department of New York says a blaze raging in a Bronx apartment building has killed at least 12 and seriously injured 15 people

The Fire Department of New York says a blaze raging in a Bronx apartment building has killed at least 12 and seriously injured 15 people

The FDNY says in a tweet that's the number of injuries currently reported from the fire near the Bronx Zoo. FDNY photos show ladders stretched to the roof of the five-story building. Some 170 firefighters are on the sceneThe FDNY says in a tweet that's the number of injuries currently reported from the fire near the Bronx Zoo. FDNY photos show ladders stretched to the roof of the five-story building. Some 170 firefighters are on the scene

The FDNY says in a tweet that's the number of injuries currently reported from the fire near the Bronx Zoo. FDNY photos show ladders stretched to the roof of the five-story building. Some 170 firefighters are on the scene

City officials are advising people in the area to close their windows to keep out the smokeCity officials are advising people in the area to close their windows to keep out the smoke

City officials are advising people in the area to close their windows to keep out the smoke

City Department of Buildings records show the building is a walk-up apartment houseCity Department of Buildings records show the building is a walk-up apartment house

City Department of Buildings records show the building is a walk-up apartment house

The mayor said at least 12 people were rescued and will survive thanks to the FDNY's quick response to the scene.

'But the search of the building continues,' the mayor said, adding that 'we may lose others as well'.

Photographs and video of the building seemed to show that the fire that occurred near the Bronx Zoo, appeared to be under control shortly after 9pm.

The mayor also confirmed during the press conference that the fire had been put out completely.

No smoke or flames were visible, but windows on some upper floors were smashed and blackened.

'I want to offer my prayers to all of the families who have lost their loved ones this evening,' de Blasio said.

'I ask all New Yorkers keep them in your prayers.'

FDNY photos show ladders stretched to the roof of the five-story building. Some 170 firefighters are on the scene.

City Department of Buildings records show the building is a walk-up apartment house.

City officials are advising people in the area to close their windows to keep out the smoke.

Witness, Xanral Collins, told the New York Post that he feared children were among the dead or injured.

'A father ran into the building, he couldn't get in,' said Collins. 'I saw him screaming, 'My babies are dead! My babies are dead!''

Another witness, Jamal Flicker, told the newspaper that he said he saw flames near the trash cans.

'It started down where they take the garbage,' Flicker said, adding that he heard a woman yelling, 'We're trapped, help!''

Officials fear the death toll may continue to climb as firefighters continue to battle the blaze.

Few official details of the blaze were immediately available. But according to WABC-TV, the fire erupted shortly before 7pm on the third floor of the building.

City police officer Tiffany Phillips added by telephone that the blaze erupted in a 'multiple-dwelling building'.

According to city records, the building had no elevator. Fire escapes were visible on the facade of the building.

One of the deadliest fires in recent city memory happened elsewhere in the Bronx in 2007. Nine children and one adult died in a blaze sparked by a space heater.

One family was seen wrapped in an American Red Cross blanket after escaping the blazeOne family was seen wrapped in an American Red Cross blanket after escaping the blaze

One family was seen wrapped in an American Red Cross blanket after escaping the blaze

 One witness said he feared children were among the dead or injured. Pictured are firefighters responding to the deadly fire  One witness said he feared children were among the dead or injured. Pictured are firefighters responding to the deadly fire 

One witness said he feared children were among the dead or injured. Pictured are firefighters responding to the deadly fire

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