Residents of 333 East 181st Street, where the blaze broke out Sunday, have complained of lack of heat and malfunctions with their self-closing doors, which fire investigators said contributed to the spread of toxic smoke throughout complex.

The five-alarm blaze is New York City's deadliest in three decades.

Survivor Mamadou Wague told local media the fire started in his third-floor flat, where he lives with his wife and eight children.

' I actually thought later that the door had shut, but the fire department people told me it had stayed open. '

'We have an electric heater because before the building didn't have good heat.

'Five years back the heat doesn't work well.

Toxic smoke then spread throughout the complex after the apartment's entry door failed to automatically close, as it should have, when the Wagues fled.

Workers are pictured Tuesday sweeping up debris outside 333 East 181st Street

'The stairwell was very dangerous as the door was left open and some of the floors — certainly on 15 — the door was open from the stairs to the hall and the 15th floor became quite untenable,' Nigro said.

' I have lived here 27 years, and I don't ever remember the door closing by itself, you have to close it yourself. '

So that caused people to ignore the alarms. '

Complex residents have also complained of roach and mice infestation and no water.

FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro said that 'very heavy' fire and smoke 'extended the entire height of the building' and confirmed that a space heater caused the blaze. Firefighters were pictured rescuing residents from the blaze early on Sunday

According to an announcement at the time they bought the properties, the developers said they intended to renovate.

'Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives or were injured, and we are here to support them as we recover from this horrific fire. '

Wague recalled how his nine-person family fled the blaze :' I heard my kids screaming, "Fire!

There was fire everywhere, on the mattress, on my daughter.

Andrew (left) and Charlie Gendron (right) of the LIHC group, the third investor

I just got up and ran back there.

i told them, "we are a very small country of less than two million people and everybody get out !"

He said he suffered burns to his face while rescuing his daughter, who was trapped in the burning bed.

although flames never escaped the third floor, smoke poured into the building's open door, turning stairwells into death traps.

Rick Gropper of the Camber Property Group (left) is one of the owners of the building. He is also named as a contributor to Eric Adams' housing transition team. The Camber Group partnered with LIHC Investment Group and Belveron Partners to buy the propert

The heavy smoke blocked some residents from escaping and incapacitated others as they tried to flee.

Dozens of people were taken to hospital, including several who were in a critical condition.

New York mayor Eric Adams called the blaze an 'unspeakable tragedy' at a news conference near the scene on Monday.

'this tragedy is not going to define us,' adams said.

Firefighters respond to a five-alarm blaze that broke out in the Bronx on Sunday

'In some cases we will bury the dead here.

the death toll was revised downwards to 17 on monday.

' I just grab her and run,' the west African immigrant told the New York Times.

Fire Marshals ruled the fire 'accidental,' noting that it was caused by a malfunctioning space heater and that a 'smoke alarm was present and operational '.

Workers clean up at the scene of a fire at a multi-level apartment building in the Bronx on Monday

But Mr Adams confirmed the building's doors were meant to be self-closing.

However, Andrew Ansbro, president of the FDNY Uniformed Firefighters Association Union, said the 49-year-old building was poorly equipped to deal with a fire.

It has no fire escapes and stairwells meant to be used as emergency exits quickly filled with smoke, along with floors where stairwell doors were left open.

Large new apartment buildings in the city are required to have sprinkler systems and interior doors that close automatically to contain smoke.

Clean-up and recovery workers are seen Monday cleaning in front of a Bronx apartment building a day after a fire swept through the complex

the building had smoke alarms but several residents said they had initially ignored them because false alarms.

Numerous times,' said Michael Joseph, 32, who lived on the sixth floor with his uncle.

Pope Francis offered his condolences Monday to the victims of the 'devastating' apartment fire.

some people could not escape because of the volume of smoke", mr nigro said.

Isatou Jabbie, 31, and husband Hagi Jawara, 41, were confirmed dead Monday after the Bronx apartment building fire by Jawara's brother Yusupha

Investigators say an electric space heater set up in one of the bedrooms of a duplex on the third floor of the building had been on for a "prolonged period" when an unspecified malfunction set off a fire around 11 a.m.

At least 17 people died in the Twin Parks complex fire, including eight children.

At least 200 firefighters responded to the scene, some arriving within minutes of the initial call for help.

As they entered the building, the first responders were met with flames in the hallway.

The Wague family's apartment is seen completely destroyed. Father Mamadou Wague said the blaze left his eight-year-old daughter trapped in her bedroom on a mattress engulfed in flames. He pulled his daughter out of the flames and managed to escape

Fire department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said they had found victims on every floor of the 19-storey block.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams told Good Morning America : "There may have been a maintenance issue with this door and that is going to be part of the ... ongoing investigation."

He added :' I couldn't sleep last night- I haven't slept.

We have over 32 people who are life-threatening at this time.

Friends posted photos on Instagram stories asking for the whereabouts of the Drammeh family - mother Fatou and her daughter, Aisha and son, Muhammad - who have been missing since the fire

The Bronx frequently has the worst residential fires in the city.

That was the deadliest fire at a U.S. residential apartment building since 2017, when 13 people died in an apartment in the Bronx, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association.

A New York City apartment block fire was more deadly because an open door allowed smoke to spread, the city's fire commissioner has said.

Bronx borough president Vanessa Gibson said she was "determined to rebuild and heal" in the wake of the incident.

City inspectors cited the Bronx high-rise at least six times between 2013 and 2019 for failing to maintain self-closing doors in the complex. There was also a self-closing door complaint issued on Dec. 6, 2021

Some 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze.

Investigators say a malfunctioning space heater in one apartment appeared to have caused the fire and, though the building had self-closing doors, the door to that apartment somehow stayed open.

The area of the Bronx where the fire occurred is home to a large Muslim immigrant population and many of those affected by the blaze are believed to have originally come to the US from the Gambia.

He assured residents that their details would not be passed on to immigration services.

Fire experts found several faulty self-closing doors in a Bronx apartment complex where a fire left 17 dead on Sunday. Investigators also believe the building's older fire safety measures contributed to the spread of the fire

Otherwise, her and her daughter are doing OK and staying with relatives, unlike their neighbour, who is still in shock.

He had to battle heavy smoke to escape and saw one child wheeled out who did not make it.

Nearby, at a community centre, people have been donating warm clothes and other supplies.

he told ABC News.

The fire at Twin Parks North West complex in the Bronx broke out in Unit 3N, where the nine-person Wague family resided. Their residence is pictured Monday, covered in ash and debris

The building hosts a number of affordable housing apartments and the blaze is likely to raise questions over the quality of such units in the city.

but representative ritchie torres, who grew up in public housing in the area and was hospitalised with asthma as a child because of poor conditions in his building had previously received federal housing can follow the same fire codes.

It started as just another January morning, the damp chill prompting a family on the third floor of a drafty Bronx apartment tower to run a space heater for extra warmth, as residents had done countless times before.

"I dropped on my knees and started to pray to God and said, 'Please help me.

Firemen stand at the scene of a fire at a multi-level apartment building in the Bronx on Monday

68, who was making breakfast in her 15th-floor apartment when acrid smoke started billowing under the front door.

If only, after an almost eerily mild December, the weekend's weather in New York had not turned cold.

On Sunday, he and his wife had space heaters running in both bedrooms and their sitting room because the building's heat "don ’ t work for nothing. ” He said he had complained, but it hadn ’ t been fixed.

But sometimes her family had to turn on the oven or boil pots of water to keep the chill at bay, said Touray.

Some of the items that caught fire at 333 East 181st Street in the Fordham Heights area of the Bronx

Down the hall, resident Karen Dejesus heard one of the building's hard-wired smoke alarms going off on the other side of her apartment door.

"So many of us were used to hearing that fire alarm go off, it was like second nature to us," said Dejesus, 56, who was in the apartment with her son and 3-year-old granddaughter.

"It seems like today, they went off but the people didn't pay attention," Henriquez said in Spanish By that point, smoke was spreading fast.

The heater had been in a second-storey unit but as the unit's residents fled the fire, a door was left open, Mr Nigro said, adding that this allowed the smoke to spread.

The entire unit was damaged by the blaze

The company that owns the building said in a statement Monday that maintenance workers repairing a lock on that door recently had inspected the self-closing mechanism and found it working.

When firefighters arrived a few minutes after the blaze was reported, they broke down her door and rushed all three family members out a window onto a waiting ladder.

"In a building that doesn't have sprinklers in it, that has very little fire safety in it, this door became literally life and death for hundreds of people," he said.

Staying put kept her safe.

Mamadou Wague (pictured), who rushed to flee with his wife and eight kids after a fire broke out in his duplex apartment on Sunday, said the doors in his unit - which are designed to close automatically - get stuck if pushed open too far

the flames damaged only a small part of the building but the smoke swept through the stairwells which, in the absence of fire escapes, many residents were cut off from their only means of escape.

In the chaos, though, others made it to safety.

"I saw the firefighters taking the children out.

Sixty-two people were injured and 30 of them were being treated in hospital on Monday, many in critical condition.

Some of the broken windows from a fire where a space heater caught fire and caused the devastation in the Bronx

It is not clear whether the same rules applied to the 120-unit Twin Parks North West building, which was constructed in 1972.

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