Boy, 3, playing with stove caused deadly NY fire, officials say

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Investigators have determined a deadly fire in a NY apartment building was caused by a child playing with a stove.

"This tragedy is, without question, historic in its magnitude".

Five people perished inside the five-story, 25-apartment building and seven died at two hospitals, The New York Daily News reported.

The fire, the deadliest in the city in a quarter of a century, broke out on the first floor of a brick building and quickly spread upstairs, killing people on multiple floors, the New York City Fire Department said.

Elain Williams said she lost her daughter, sister, and two nieces in the Thursday night fire at 2363 Prospect Ave. By 10 p.m., the fire was under control.

Bill de Blasio told the media four people were also rushed to hospital with critical injuries and several others suffered serious injuries.

Neighbor Nestor Torres said he was searching for a few people he knows in the bulding.

The 3½-year-old-boy, his mother and another child were able to flee their first-floor apartment.

The apartment's stairway acted "like a chimney" as the fire burst from the apartment, feeding the flames and allowing them to spread throughout the building, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Friday.

Esther Sakyi, 50, said she was alone in her bedroom when she felt the room getting hot.

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"The first story I heard is that she was up top and she couldn't get down", said George, 19, fighting back tears.

Five of the other victims were pronounced dead at the scene: a 8-month-old baby girl, a 63-year-old woman and three adult men, according to police.

Adrenaline flowing, he closed the door, went to the window and yanked out the heavy air conditioning unit, "which was awesome because when I was putting it in I was struggling".

Firefighters sifted through the charred interior of the building, but the exterior showed little damage and the red fire escapes were intact. Not considering the possibility of a fire, Sakyi said she initially took off all of her clothes, but then went to the door to see what was happening. About 20 people were already on fire escapes, Nigro said. I ask all New Yorkers to keep them in your prayers, too.

Diallo said the apartment building has tenants who hail from all over the world.

And in 2007, a fire in the Bronx killed nine children and an adult.

"It seems like a disgusting, tragic accident", Mayor Bill de Blasio said in an interview with WNYC radio.

"This is a awful tragedy in the middle of the holidays".

Mensah lived with friends of his father - a married couple and their four children. None of those complaints appear to be fire-related.