Eric Adams suggests faulty door may have helped NYC blaze spread

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Mayor Eric Adams suggested a faulty door could have helped the smoke from the deadly Bronx apartment inferno spread — and has promised the city’s fire marshals will conduct an “extremely thorough” investigation.

“We have a law here that requires doors to close automatically. We are looking at [that] through the investigation with the fire marshals, who will be extremely thorough with the investigation,” Adams said on CNN’s “New Day” Monday morning.

“We’re looking to determine if there was some form of malfunctioning of the door.”

The Sunday morning blaze caused by a malfunctioning space heater killed dozens of people — including nine children — and injured at least 63. 

Officials said Sunday a door left open in the apartment where the fire started allowed the smoke to spread throughout the building.

At least 32 people including multiple children were critically injured, with firefighters making dramatic rescues after a fire broke out inside an apartment on E. 181st St. in the Bronx Sunday.
The Bronx fire was the deadliest in the five boroughs in nearly 32 years.
© Theodore Parisienne/New York Daily News/TNS via ZUMA Press Wire
New York City Mayor Eric Adams addresses the media in the aftermath of a deadly fire at a 19-story building on January 9, 2022
New York City Mayor Eric Adams addresses the media in the aftermath of a deadly fire at a 19-story building on January 9, 2022.
Scott Heins/Getty Images
Residents take refuge at a school cafeteria after a fire erupted at their 19-story apartment building
Residents take refuge in a school cafeteria after a fire erupted at their 19-story apartment building.
Scott Heins/Getty Images

According to the city housing department’s fire safety regulations, self-closing doors are required in all buildings with three or more apartments.

Meanwhile, Adams stressed the importance of closing doors during fires.

The mayor floated reviving a public service initiative he recalled from his childhood during a series of media appearances Monday, the day after the horrific five-alarm fire.

Emergency first responders remain at the scene after an intense fire at a 19-story residential building
First responders remain at the scene after an intense fire at a 19-story residential building.
Scott Heins/Getty Images
Five alarm fire at 333 East 181st Street in The Bronx
The building was cited for more than two dozen violations and complaints.
Citizen

“We took away one lesson from this, and it’s closing of the door, it’s imperative,” he said on 1010 Wins, adding that a program will be put in place in schools, senior centers and other similar settings. “It was the smoke that took the lives, not the fire itself.”

“It’s almost muscle memory that you flee in an apartment, and sometimes you forget about closing a door, and that’s why we’re going to double down on the closing the door PSA that I knew as a child, and we want other generations to understand that,” he explained on Fox 5.

“We just need to make sure as [a] government that we give people the right instruction to save lives, so I’m going to do that,” he added on CNN.

Firefighters hoisted a ladder to rescue people through their windows
Firefighters hoisted a ladder to rescue people through their windows.
© Theodore Parisienne/New York Daily News/TNS via ZUMA Press Wire
Five alarm fire at 333 East 181st Street in The Bronx.
The fire killed dozens of people — including nine children — and injured at least 63. 
G.N.Miller/NYPost
Firefighters work outside an apartment building after a fire in the Bronx, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022
Firefighters work outside an apartment building after a fire in the Bronx, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.
AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura

On its website, the FDNY Foundation calls on “all New Yorkers to always close the door when escaping a fire.”

The proposal comes as the number of people who died in fires in the Big Apple rose by 16 percent in 2021 — with 73 fatalities compared to 63 in 2020, according to FDNY data.

Sunday morning’s deadly blaze sent New Yorkers on searches for family members injured or killed in it, after some of the 200 FDNY firefighters kept fighting the inferno despite running out of oxygen in their tanks, Adams revealed.

Five alarm fire at 333 East 181st Street in The Bronx.
Self-closing doors are required in all buildings with three or more apartments.
G.N.Miller/NYPost
Five alarm fire at 333 East 181st Street in The Bronx.
The blaze was caused by a malfunctioning space heater.
G.N.Miller/NYPost
A baby being rescue.
Scene of a fatal fire at 333 east 181 street in the Bronx, New York. Sunday January 9-2022.
A baby was rescued at the scene of the fire.
Tomas E. Gaston

The 19-story, 120-unit building was cited for more than two dozen violations and complaints, despite $25 million in state loans for repairs. The non-fire-related citations, including for vermin infestation and faulty elevators, came after the 2013 infusion of state cash. 

The horrific blaze was the deadliest fire in the five boroughs in nearly 32 years, since 87 people perished in March 1990 in the Happy Land social-club arson attack.

An online fundraising campaign as of Monday morning has raised more than $284,000 for the victims of the blaze.

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