Pope Francis Sends Condolences for New York Fire Victims
At Least 19 Killed, Including 9 Children
Pope Praying - Copyright: Vatican Media
Pope Francis today expressed his condolences for the victims of an apartment fire in New York’s Bronx borough, which left at least 19 people dead, including 9 children, reported Vatican News.
The Holy Father’s thoughts came in a telegram signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and addressed to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.
The Pope was “saddened to learn of the recent devastating fire in the Bronx in which a number of children lost their lives,” the telegram said. He offered his “heartfelt condolences and the assurances of his spiritual closeness to those affected by this tragedy.”
The Holy Father also entrusted those affected “to the merciful love of Almighty God” and invoked “upon all consolation and strength in the Lord.”
The fire broke out in a 19-story apartment building in the Bronx on Sunday morning.
More than 200 firefighters were sent to battle the blaze, which enveloped the second and third floors. Smoke filled the entire building, and officials said victims were found on every floor.
In addition to at least 19 residents dying, including 9 children, another 32 people were sent to the hospital, several of them in critical condition.
Officials with the New York City fire department said the blaze started in an apartment that spanned the second and third floors and was started by a malfunctioning space heater.
They added that it is the city’s deadliest fire in three decades and that the building housed a large Muslim population.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said some residents became trapped in their apartments by the smoke. Some broke windows for air and stuffed wet towels under doors to keep the smoke from entering.
Rescue crews found many of the victims in a state of cardiac and respiratory arrest.
New York Mayor Eric Adams, in office just over a week, told reporters that firefighters continued to search for survivors even after their limited air supplies ran out.
“Their oxygen tanks were empty and they still pushed through the smoke,” he said.
Flames scorched only the apartment where the blaze began and an adjacent hallway.
But officials said a door to a stairwell had been left open, allowing smoke to quickly spread through the building.
HIS EMINENCE CARDINAL
ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK
HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS WAS SADDENED TO LEARN OF THE RECENT
DEVASTATING FIRE IN THE BRONX IN WHICH A NUMBER OF CHILDREN LOST THEIR
LIVES. IN OFFERING HEARTFELT CONDOLENCES AND THE ASSURANCE OF HIS
SPIRITUAL CLOSENESS TO THOSE AFFECTED BY THIS TRAGEDY, HE ENTRUSTS THE
VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES TO THE MERCIFUL LOVE OF ALMIGHTY GOD AND
INVOKES UPON ALL CONSOLATION AND STRENGTH IN THE LORD.