Fire investigators say they now know the cause of last weekend’s deadly inferno that devoured a Bronx home and claimed the lives of three children and an adult.
Officials on Friday identified the source of the fire, tracing it back to a damaged power strip inside the home. Fire marshals ruled it accidental.
That announcement comes almost one week after a family was left to grapple with the losses of 10-year-old Kalheed Waleed Ban Saleh, 12-year-old Mohamed Waleed Ahmed, 10-month-old Barah Saleh and 22-year-old Ahmed Saleh.
The blaze erupted at the two-story Quimby Avenue brick home around 6 am Sunday and spread rapidly. Firefighters, who arrived in a little over four minutes, found heavy fire on the first and second floors, Assistant Chief Kevin Brennan said.
Two of the child victims were pronounced dead at the scene once the two-alarm blaze was extinguished. The other two died at a hospital.
Two other victims, a 21-year-old woman and a 41-year-old man, were hospitalized in critical condition.
The community is gathering around a devastated family who lost four people in a deadly morning fire. News 4’s Jessica Cunnington reports.
Witnesses described a gut-wrenching scene as the father of the kids who died tried desperately to save them.
Neighbor Carla Cornielle said she gave the man a hammer. He tried to break down the door. When that didn’t work, she said he tried to smash a window.
“I see this man just panicking, just screaming for his family. He said, ‘My kids, my kids are all up there. Help!'” Cornielle said.
She said the flames only grew more intense. Another neighbor said they felt helpless hearing screams from inside as the house went up in flames. Relatives said that the father saved his parents, then tried to save his baby, but they couldn’t make it out.
Mayor Eric Adams visited the scene Sunday and told the grieving father the city would help with the burials.
“He lost his children and it’s extremely painful,” the Democrat said. “The block and the community is going to rally around this family.”
More than 100 firefighters and EMS workers were dispatched to the building. Before determining the cause of the fire, investigators said the home had working smoke detectors present inside at the time.