Six members of a single family, including four children, died Wednesday in an early morning apartment fire in New York City, officials said.
Authorities believe the blaze, which started at an apartment in Harlem around 1:40 a.m. and took firefighters more than an hour to put out, was an accident, according to officials with the New York City Fire Department.
Update 7:30 p.m. EDT May 8: One of the victims of the Harlem apartment fire has been identified as Andrea Pollidore, the mother of the four children killed in the blaze, according to WNBC-TV.
Family members told investigators that Pollidore would often disconnect the fire detector when she cooked, WNBC reported.
Investigators found a burner on the stove in the on position and believe something was cooking on the stove at the time the fire started.
Fire officials said they still haven’t found the fire detector in the apartment.
The children have only been identified so far as 3 and 8-year-old boys and 6 and 11-year-old girls.
A 33-year-old male relative also died in the fire.
Update 1:20 p.m. EDT May 8: Fire officials said the blaze likely started on the stove in the kitchen.
“It is a very painful day for our city. This is a horrible loss,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters at the scene of the fire in the 2400 block of 7th Avenue in Harlem. “We woke up this morning and heard about the unspeakable – a whole family – I want to say as a father, hearing that four children were lost in a single family is extraordinarily painful. Two adults and four children – this is a gut-wrenching moment for all of us.”
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said firefighters were met with flames when they arrived at the apartment early Wednesday following a call from a neighbor across the street.
“Fire was out the windows on two sides of the building -- it’s a large apartment on the fifth floor, a six-room apartment,” Nigro said. “Firefighters pushed in rapidly but were unable to save the members of this family who were found in two bedrooms.”
More than 100 firefighters responded to the fire, Nigro said.
Original report: Six people, including four children, were killed early Wednesday in a New York apartment fire, multiple news outlets are reporting.
Authorities said the fire broke out about 1:30 a.m. on the fifth floor of the Frederick E. Samuel Apartments on Seventh Avenue in Harlem, WNBC reported. Two hours later, fire officials tweeted that the blaze was under control.
Officials believe the victims were all members of the same family, WPIX reporter Anthony DiLorenzo tweeted. Authorities have not released their names.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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