Mayor Bill de Blasio called it the “worst fire tragedy in this city in at least a quarter century.”
Four people were critically injured and others were hurt, the mayor said. He added that it’s possible that “we may lose others as well.”
“This will rank as one of the worst losses of life to a fire in many, many years,” de Blasio said in a Thursday press conference.
The fire started on the first floor and spread quickly, said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. The victims, ranging in age from 1 to 50, died on various floors of the apartment building.
The first call about the fire came at 6:51 p.m. ET and the fire department responded within three minutes, Nigro said.
“This tragedy is, without question, historic in its magnitude,” he said. “Our hearts go out to every family who lost a loved one here and everyone fighting for their lives.”
At least 12 people were rescued and are expected to survive, the mayor said. By the time the officials spoke around 10 p.m. ET, the fire had been put out and the building was being searched.
By Elizabeth Joseph, CNN