AG Letitia James promises to investigate the Bronx fire under guard

More than 100 people gathered Tuesday night for a candle guard in honor of the victims of the horrific Bronx fire – including New York Justice Minister Letitia James, who vowed to investigate the deadly fire.

“I will also use the law both as a sword and as a shield to get to the bottom of this fire,” James told the crowd of mourners outside 333 E. 181st St. – where Sunday morning inferno broke out and killed 17 people and injured a dozen others.

“There’s a lesson to be learned about government neglect … and there’s a lesson to be learned as to why this continues to happen in this corner of the Bronx,” James said.

Officials have blamed the fire on a faulty space heater inside a duplex on the 3rd floor of the 19-story building.

Mourners talk together at the guard.
At least 17 people died in Sunday’s fire, and dozens more were injured.
Gregory P. Mango
Red Cross members participate in the guard.
Officials said the fire started from a faulty space heater on the third floor.
Gregory P. Mango
Dozens of people hold candles by the guard.
New York Justice Minister Letitia James said she would investigate the deadly fire and said there is a lesson to be learned from the tragedy.
Gregory P. Mango

Two defective doors that never closed automatically, one in the duplex and another on the 15th floor, allowed the smoke to flow into the hallway before rising up the stairwells and spreading throughout the building, officials said.

By law, doors to apartments and stairwells in New York City must be spring-loaded – so they can be closed themselves.

The site of Sunday’s deadly fire was cited six times by city inspectors for not maintaining its self-closing apartment doors from 2013 to 2019 under the building’s previous owner, records show.

New York City Public Prosecutor Jumaane Williams and Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson also attended the vigil.

People talk on a podium during the guard.
Defective doors, which by law must close automatically, allowed smoke and fire to spread throughout the apartment building.
Gregory P. Mango
Young people showed up to the guard for the fire victims.
The apartment was quoted six times by city inspectors for not maintaining its self-closing apartment doors over the course of seven years.
Gregory P. Mango

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