New York Fire Investigators Probing Possible Door, Alarm 'Malfunction': Eric Adams

New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday said investigators probing the deadly Sunday fire that has so far killed 19 people, including nine children, are looking into a possible "malfunction" of a door and the building's alarm system.

Speaking to CNN on Monday morning, Adams said investigators are probing reports that frequent false alarms may have led residents to ignore the alarm system as Sunday's blaze ripped through the Bronx apartment building.

"We're going to look at that system and ensure that the alarm system didn't repeatedly malfunction," Adams said of the fire, which local leaders say is the city's worst in decades.

According to Daniel Nigro, commissioner of the city's fire department, a malfunctioning electric space heater in the bedroom of a third-floor apartment was the cause of the fire.

Adams said the fire on Sunday was a "wakeup call for all of our buildings," noting that the death toll may rise.

"Do proper testing, make sure that complaints are repeated, smoke alarms going off without any real smoke or fire. We need to make sure these systems operate because they save lives, and that is something we want to focus on," Adams told CNN's New Day.

The mayor said New York City will "learn from this moment," noting that the only way to "get it right and prevent a tragedy of this proportion is to continue to make sure we rectify and correct any problems that we see."

Adams separately told Good Morning America that investigators believe an open door contributed to the rapid spread of smoke throughout the apartment building on 333 E 181st Street.

"It appears the ability to have the smoke spread is due to the door being open," he said. "There may have been a maintenance issue with this door and that is going to be part of the ongoing investigation."

Apartment doors are required to automatically close under New York City law.

"The doors in the building did have self-closing mechanisms. We are just looking at that specific door," Adams told CNN.

When pressed on whether he believed that the 19-story high-rise didn't meet the requirements of the fire code, Adams said no, adding that according to a preliminary report, it was "up to the current standard."

"These buildings were built prior to many of our new fire codes that were put in place, and once we have the report from the fire marshal we will be able to make a thorough evaluation of what needs to be done and how we move forward," the mayor said.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Sunday said that she was "horrified by the devastating fire in the Bronx today."

"My heart is with the loved ones of all those we've tragically lost, all of those impacted and with our heroic @FDNY firefighters. The entire State of New York stands with New York City," Hochul said on Twitter.

The mayor during a press conference on Sunday said firefighters pushed on with rescue efforts despite running out of oxygen.

"Their oxygen tanks were empty, and they still pushed through the smoke," Adams told reporters. "You can't do this if you don't feel attached to the city and this community, and I really want to thank them for putting their lives in the line to save lives."

Apartment building on 333 E 181st Street
Emergency first responders remain at the scene after an intense fire at a 19-story residential building that erupted in the morning on January 9, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. New York City mayor Eric Adams on Monday said investigators probing the deadly Sunday fire that has so far killed 19 people, including nine children, are looking into a possible “malfunction” of a door and the building's alarm system. Scott Heins/Getty Images