Child playing with stove accidentally started Bronx blaze that killed 12 people

A small child playing with a stove ignited the raging Bronx fire that killed a dozen people, including four kids under the age of seven, inside a Bronx apartment building.

The details about the fire’s origin came from the mayor’s office Friday, just prior to a news conference about the deadliest fire tragedy to strike the city in more than 25 years.

A 2-year-old and a 1-year-old infant girl found in the arms of a woman seeking refuge in a bathtub were among the dead in the Thursday night blaze on Prospect Ave. near E. 187th St. in Belmont.

“What we think at this point is that it unfortunately emanated from an accident, a young child playing with a stove on the first floor of the building,” said Mayor de Blasio on his weekly radio show.

“It does not appear that there was anything problematic about the building or the fire safety in the building. It seems like a horrible, tragic accident.”



The mayor had earlier warned that the death toll could climb, with several victims listed in critical condition.

Authorities are trying to determine if a natural gas line outside the building fueled the quick-moving blaze.

The gas to the building had to be shut down in May because of a leak, according to the city Department of Buildings.

The property owner was given a permit in August to re-pipe the building’s gas distribution system, records show.

De Blasio said the building’s management company is responsible for making sure all safety precautions are in place — but warned against any speculation until the Fire Marshals complete their investigation.

“They have the best fire department in the world, they are very expert at investigating to figure out what the cause of a fire is,” de Blasio said. “We need to give them a little time to work through this.”

The fire spread from the first floor to additional landings in the five-story building in seconds, officials said.

As firefighters fought back the blaze, they found a 1-year-old baby girl dead next to a 63-year-old woman. Three unidentified men were also found dead in the building, officials said.

Building residents were evacuated after a fatal fire at 2363 Prospect Ave. (JAMES KEIVOM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

The 2-year-old girl pulled from the building died at St. Barnabas Hospital, along with a 7-year-old girl, a 19-year-old woman, a 37-year-old woman and an unidentified woman, officials said.

An unidentified man and child taken out of the fire died at Jacobi Medical Center, authorities said.



None of the names of the victims authorities have identified were immediately released.

Mothers and their children could be seen frantically scrambling down building fire escapes after the fire broke out about 7 p.m. Thursday.

The fire spread from the first floor to additional landings in the five-story building in a seconds, officials said. (JAMES KEIVOM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Many of the victims had just shorts and shirts on as they raced outside, bracing themselves against the frigid 12-degree temperatures.

The century-old building was just given a permit for a rehabilitation project, according to city records.

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