By Ted Shaffrey
Six family members, including four children, were killed early Wednesday when a fire that apparently started on a stove ravaged a Harlem apartment, authorities said.
Firefighters, who were called at about 1:40 a.m., pushed quickly and aggressively into the flames and thick smoke and found a man and a woman, as well as two girls and two boys ages 3 to 11, in bedrooms of the fifth-floor apartment, according to Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. They were pronounced dead by emergency medical technicians.
“We’re in the lifesaving business and we take this very personally when we’re unable to save this family,” Nigro said at a briefing hours later.
“It’s horrible to look at, and as a father just thinking … that yesterday evening four children went to bed and they’re gone now is very, very painful,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The head of the New York City Housing Authority, Kathryn Garcia, said a battery-operated smoke detector in the apartment had been tested in January at the Frederick E. Samuel Houses.
“I was trapped in my building, in my apartment until the fire department came and got me out,” a resident, Patricia Flowers, told The Associated Press hours after the fire. “I have a mom, and I didn’t know what to do to get her out. … So it was very frightening.”