Bronx fire is the latest tragic deadly NYC inferno



Sunday’s horrific Bronx blaze that killed 19 people was the city’s deadliest fire in nearly 32 years — since 87 people perished in March 1990 in the Happy Land social-club arson attack.

Nine children were among Sunday’s dead, part of a tragic pattern in recent years.

New York City has repeatedly seen children killed in apartment fires, often from the same family. The tragedies turn parents of eight into parents of one and leave family members, neighbors and city officials desperate for answers.

March 25, 1990: 87 people die at the Happy Land social club in The Bronx

Spurned beau Julio Gonzalez used gasoline and two matches to turn the hot spot into what was then the biggest mass murder in US history.

Angry over a woman, he set the blaze while closing the establishment’s front metal gate, leaving 87 people to die amid the flames, smoke and panic.

The destruction was so swift that some victims were found resembling the figures frozen in ash in Pompei.

March 7, 2007: Bronx blaze kills eight kids from two different families

A series of catastrophic errors, including a delayed application for sprinklers and missing smoke detectors, turned an electrical spark into the inferno that killed nine people from a pair of families on Woodycrest Avenue. Among the fatal victims were eight children.

Brooklyn home burned
A mother and her eight children’s Brooklyn home engulfed in flames.
Seth Gottfried

“My wife! My kids! I had four,” cab driver Mamdou Soumare wailed outside the home after the blaze. “I spoke to my wife before. She called and said there is a fire. That was it.”

Moussa Magassa, a leader in the Malian immigrant community, had lived in the building for 15 years. He also lost five sons in the blaze.

“Who knows what lives these kids would have had had they not died so tragically? They might have accomplished great things,” then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg said at the time. “When children die, everyone around them, everyone who loved them die a little bit as well.”

Dec. 28, 2017: 13 die when fire sweeps through Bronx apartment building

Bronx apartment fire
Family members, neighbors and city officials are desperate for answers on the repeated building fires.
Tomas E. Gaston

A child playing with his family’s kitchen stove likely caused the city’s deadliest blaze in more than a quarter-century at that time, killing 13 people, including a 1-year-old girl.

The four-alarm fire began at 6:51 p.m. and destroyed 2363 Prospect Ave. in Belmont near the Bronx Zoo. The baby was found in a bathtub — cradled in the arms of her mother, who was desperately trying to protect her child from the flames.

Thierme Diallo, who lived on the first floor, ran barefoot out of the building into the cold.

“I was in my bed sleeping… and somebody knock on the door shouting, ‘We have fire in the building! Get out! Get out!’ ” Diallo told The Post. “I had to save myself. Then, by the exit, I saw the glass coming down like flames.”

March 21, 2015: Tragic Sabbath hot-plate fire kills family’s seven kids

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta
Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta investigates the scene of a Bronx apartment building in 2007.

Brooklyn mom Gayle Sassoon lost seven of her eight kids in a fire sparked by an overheated hot plate the family was using for the Jewish Sabbath.

Witnesses at the scene saw Sassoon bloodied and ashy at the scene and frantically trying to get past the flames to save her kids, who had all perished by the time FDNY showed up 25 minutes after the blaze had started while the children were asleep.

The seven kids were all buried in Israel.

“She ran into the fire to save her children,” her cousin told The Post one year later. “When she realized she couldn’t, she jumped out the window and ran across the street to get help.”

May 8, 2019: Mom and five kids die trapped in Harlem apartment blaze

A Harlem woman and her five offspring screamed for help and desperately pounded on their windows as a fire tore through their apartment that early Wednesday morning. The 1:40 a.m. inferno apparently sparked by food cooking on an unattended stove barricaded the family inside their home.

Burnt kitchen apartment
Andrea Pollidore and her family were killed in their Harlem apartment.

Neighbors told investigators that the mother, Andrea Pollidore, routinely disabled her smoke detectors when she cooked. The FDNY said the apartment’s layout made it especially difficult for the family to flee.

“The kids were screaming at the window for help on top of their beds,” a neighbor from the building next door told this newspaper. “Poor babies, you couldn’t do nothing. They were trapped.”


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