At least one person died and nine others were injured, including firefighters, in a Bronx fire Tuesday morning that spread to various multi-family homes, fire officials said.
The FDNY responded to the fire on Valentine Avenue in the Fordham section of the Bronx shortly after 9 a.m.
Firefighters said that when units arrived at the scene four minutes later, they found heavy smoke in the rear of the building. High winds contributed to the spread of the fire to the adjoining buildings.
Citizen App video showed the flames shooting up from the row of homes. At one point, the fire reached four alarms, according to officials.
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Although there were initial reports of multiple people trapped, the FDNY said that they were able to remove one person from inside where the fire began and another passed away.
A mother of four said she, her kids and grandchild dangled themselves out second floor window, got to a landing and then climbed into another apartment.
"Dark smoke. It felt like a movie. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. I had no choice but to go out the window," the mother said.
Kareem Parker said that he, his mother and his grandmother were inside on the first floor when the fire broke out. He escaped by jumping out a rear window, while his mother made it out the front door. But his grandmother did not survive.
"I tried to open the door and it was flames coming out. I hopped through the back window and I got out. I left my shoes phone everything," Parker said, adding that he didn't learn his mother had survived until he got outside. "I had to hop out through the back and I was looking for anyone in there I could try to save but it was too hot."
He also called his grandmother the family's rock, saying "she was a good person and she lived a long life." Devastated by the loss, his mother had to be held up by family and neighbors when she learned her mother died.
The other nine individuals -- four of them firefighters -- suffered minor injuries, according to the FDNY. The windy conditions made fighting the flames more difficult, said FDNY Acting Chief Fire Operations Richard Blatus.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but firefighters believe it started on the first floor.
“I don’t know how it started. I don’t know. I do know it was too hot to go outside my room," Parker said.
Nearly a dozen people were replaced as a result of the flames.
Community members, meanwhile, expressed extreme concern. Seventeen people died earlier this year in another Bronx fire just around the corner. It was the city's deadliest blaze in decades.