Twelve people killed in a 5th alarm fire in the Bronx

December 29, 2017

Twelve people were killed on Thursday December 28, 2017 in a 5th alarm fire in the Bronx at 2363 Prospect Avenue.

Fire Marshals have determined the fire was caused by a 3-year-old boy playing with the burners on a stove. When the child’s mother was alerted to the fire, she grabbed him and another young child and exited the apartment; leaving the door open.

“The fire quickly spread up the stairs,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “The stairway acted like a chimney. It took the fire so quickly upstairs that people had very little time to react. They couldn’t get back down the stairs. Of those that tried, a few of them perished. Others were helped out onto the fire escapes, taken down by our members.”

The fire killed 12 people, and left an additional 4 patients in critical condition at local hospitals.

“Although our Firefighters got here in a little over 3 minutes, and bravely entered the building and did everything they could, and did save a number of residents, this loss is unprecedented,” said Commissioner Nigro. “If unfortunately you do have a fire in your apartment, you must close the door when you exit.”

This fire is the worst loss of life in a single fire (excluding September 11th, 2001), in nearly three decades.

If you suspect that a child is playing with fire, or setting fires intentionally, the FDNY can help. The FDNY Juvenile Fire-Setters Intervention Program works to both educate and evaluate children (up to the age 12) who are engaging in fire play. The program is run by the Bureau of Fire Investigation and is completely confidential. The program has a very high success rate and is tailored to fit the needs of each individual child who takes part. Parents and/or guardians of children are also given important information. To learn more about the FDNY Juvenile Fire-Setters Intervention Program, visit

Click here for video footage of the burned out hallway and stairwell of the building.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro urges everyone to please close the door behind you if fleeing an apartment that is on fire. Create your escape plan by visiting