- On Sunday, 17 people, including eight children, were killed in an apartment fire in the Bronx.
- A space heater started the fire and smoke spread throughout the building, officials said.
- Investigators are looking into why safety doors failed to close during the fire, the AP reported.
Safety doors failed to close when a fire broke out in a Bronx high-rise, killing 17 people on Sunday, investigators said.
On Monday, The Associated Press reported that investigators were looking into why the doors failed to close.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the fire was started by a faulty space heater in an apartment.
“The marshals have determined through physical evidence, through firsthand accounts from the residents, that this fire started in a bedroom in a portable electric heater,” Nigro said at a press conference on Sunday, NBC News reported.
The New York Times reported that an unnamed official said they believe the space heater ran uninterrupted for days but it’s not clear what caused the malfunction.
Nigro said the heater was on to supplement the building’s heating, the AP reported. Once it caught on fire, that spread to nearby furniture and bedding. Open doors made it easier for it spread throughout the building.
The AP reported that the door of the apartment should have been self-closing to limit the spread of the fire but the door stayed open. It’s not yet clear if someone manually left it open or if it was a mechanical error.
Glenn Corbett, a fire science professor at John Jay College in New York City, told the AP that closed doors are critical to containing fire and smoke.
“It’s pretty remarkable that the failure of one door could lead to how many deaths we had here, but that’s the reality of it,” Corbett said. “That one door played a critical role in allowing the fire to spread and the smoke and heat to spread vertically through the building.”
Officials on Sunday said 19 people died but on Monday, NYC Mayor Eric Adams revised the number to 17 people, including eight children. At least 13 people are in critical condition.
The fire was New York City’s deadliest fire in over 30 years.
The FDNY did not respond to Insider’s request for comment at the time of publication.