SOUNDVIEW, the Bronx — Fire officials said an electric scooter is to blame for a fire that ripped through a Bronx apartment Tuesday, sending four family members to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The FDNY said Wednesday that a lithium ion battery inside the electric scooter in the living room of the family's apartment is what sparked the flames. The fire was officially deemed accidental.
Cause of yesterday’s all-hands fire at 1720 Watson Ave. in the Bronx was accidental, electrical (lithium ion battery from an electric scooter stored in the living room). Smoke alarm not operational in fire apartment. pic.twitter.com/1JAoKNpRfm— FDNY (@FDNY) January 13, 2021
The raging blaze broke out inside an apartment at the Sotomayor Houses in Soundview. With the fire spreading and smoke quickly filling the fourth-floor unit, cellphone video captured one of the victims seeking help from an apartment window.
Officials said a smoke alarm in the apartment was not operating at the time.
Tachara Miller lives next door to the apartment where the fire originated and was the one who dialed 911. Firefighters had to rescue her and her kids.
"It was like today was my last day living," Miller told PIX11. "I'm not going to lie to you, it was like my last day living. With my kids, I'm screaming 'help!'"
In all, 12 people were injured, four of which were the family members hospitalized in critical condition — including a 4-year-old boy fighting for his life.
"We provided advanced life-saving care," said Paul Minao of the FDNY.
Two firefighters were among those hurt in the blaze.
Hours after the fire, parts of the fourth-floor hallway at the NYCHA building remained charred.