6 Family Members, Including 4 Children, Killed in Harlem Fire

7 Online - May 08, 2019

HARLEM, New York (WABC) -- Six family members, including four children, were killed in an apartment fire in Harlem early Wednesday morning.

The fire broke out around 1:45 a.m. in the kitchen of the fifth-floor apartment inside the Samuel City Houses on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard.

Officials believe a stove burner was left on overnight. It is being examined as the possible cause of the fire.

Two adults, a 45-year-old mother and a 33-year-old man, were killed along with three children, an 11-year-old girl, an 8-year-old boy, a 6-year-old girl, and a 3-year-old boy.

They were all pronounced dead at the scene.

"The fire met them at the front door of the apartment. It is a particularly large apartment with three bedrooms, living room, kitchen, dining room, and every bit of that apartment had fire damage," said Commissioner Daniel Nigro, FDNY.

Three other people suffered minor injuries.

Officials said the fire appeared to be accidental.

The building is a city-run housing authority complex.

Other residents described grabbing their children and pets as they ran from the building, some used the fire escapes. Many of the residents were asleep when the fire broke out.

Some said they heard alarms while others said it was neighbors knocking on their doors that alerted them to the fire.

"I didn't hear any alarms, everyone was sleeping. Neighbors started screaming, 'Everybody hurry up, hurry up, come outside, it's a fire, it's a fire,'" a resident said.

The Red Cross was on the scene handing out blankets and helping to assist any displaced residents.

Mayor Bill de Blasio commented on the fire on Twitter: A tragic apartment fire at Samuel Houses in Harlem overnight took the lives of 6 people, including 4 young kids. More than 100 firefighters fought to save them. Our hearts break for this family and for their neighbors and loved ones.

— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 8, 2019

This is the deadliest first in NYC since the December 2017 fire in the Bronx that killed 13 people.