AG Letitia James vows to investigate Bronx fire at vigil

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More than 100 people gathered Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil in honor of the victims of the horrific Bronx fire – including New York Attorney General Letitia James, who vowed to investigate the deadly blaze.

“I will also use the law both as a sword and as a shield to get to the bottom of this fire,” James told the crowd of mourners outside of 333 E. 181st St. – where the Sunday morning inferno broke out, killing 17 people and injuring dozen others.

“There’s a lesson to be learned about the neglect of government … and there’s a lesson to be learned about why this continues to happen in this corner of the Bronx,” James said.

Officials have blamed the fire on a malfunctioning space heater inside a duplex on the 3rd-floor of the 19-story building.

Mourners speak together at the vigil.
At least 17 people died in the Sunday fire, and dozens more were left injured.
Gregory P. Mango
Red Cross members attend the vigil.
Officials said the fire started from a malfunctioning space heater on the third floor.
Gregory P. Mango
Dozens of people hold candles at the vigil.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, said she would investigate the deadly blaze, stating that there is a lesson to be learned from the tragedy.
Gregory P. Mango

Two faulty doors that never automatically closed, one in the duplex and another on the 15th floor, allowed the smoke to pour into the hallway before rising up the stairwells and spreading throughout the building, officials said.

By law, apartment and stairwell doors in New York City need to be spring-loaded – allowing them to self-close.

The site of Sunday’s fatal fire was cited six times by city inspectors for failing to maintain its self-closing apartment doors from 2013 to 2019 under the building’s previous owner, records show.

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson also attended the vigil.

People speak at a podium during the vigil.
Faulty doors, which by law need to close automatically, allowed smoke and fire to spread throughout the apartment building.
Gregory P. Mango
Young people showed up to the vigil for the fire victims.
The apartment was cited six times by city inspectors for failing to maintain its self-closing apartment doors during a seven year span.
Gregory P. Mango

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