The fire killed at least 12 people, including four children, in the city's deadliest blaze in more than 25 years.
The 12 victims ranged from 8 months old to almost 60.
As smoke engulfed the building on Prospect Avenue just before 7 p.m. Thursday, family after family desperately ran out, barefoot and freezing, to try to get to safety. "I heard somebody, 'Oh!" He said the baby's mother wasn't home because she was working.
"It started from a young boy, 3-and-a-half years old, playing with the burners on the stove". His mother discovered the fast-moving fire when she heard the child's screams from another room.
Soon, the flames were shooting up the open stairwell, trapping residents on the higher floors. About 20 people were already on fire escapes, Nigro said. Emmanuel died trying to rescue other people in the building.
She expressed regret at the tragedy and said the Foreign Ministry was working with the Jamaican Consulate in NY to get details on the deaths.
"The smoke, I guess, overcame her". Diallo says it took him a moment to realize what was happening.
"I opened it, and the smoke just hit me", she said.
"Bunch of calls on this one, chief", an official said over the radio as fire units rushed to the scene. Some 170 firefighters are on the scene. "I am still in shock".
"People had very little time to react", Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
An Army soldier who was visiting New York City for the holidays was among the 12 victims in the deadly Bronx blaze, his father told CBS New York.
In 2007, 10 immigrants from Mali, including nine children, died after a space heater caught fire in a Bronx building. "He gave his life rescuing his neighbors in the Bronx fire", Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet Saturday afternoon.
FDNY releases fatal Bronx apartment fire video
"It seems like a disgusting, tragic accident", De Blasio said yesterday.
The building's owner, Howard Alkoff, could not be reached for comment.
"This tragedy is, without question, historic in its magnitude", said Nigro.
"The stairway acted like a chimney", the fire commissioner said.
You might also be interested in.. He emphasized that young children should not be left unattended, and those fleeing apartment fires should always shut doors behind them once the last person is out.
Numerous 25 families who lived in the Bronx apartment building were immigrants, "hard-working people going about their lives", said Jonathan Morris, the priest at the nearby Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, who said he spent Thursday night with the families at St. Barnabas Hospital as they were called upon to identify the dead.
A mother and her two daughters - aged 2 and 7 - as well as a 1-year-old girl and an unidentified boy were among the dead, according to police. Francis' mother told the New York Times that 13 members of the family lived in the building.
It came as little surprise to Mensah's father that he came to the aid of others. "It was horrific, heartbreaking", said Michael de Vulpillieres, a Red Cross spokesman.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Some neighborhood residents ventured by in the cold to offer donations and support.
A relative at the scene shared photos with News 4 of the children, one just a wide-eyed toddler sipping from a bottle, the other a young girl with a black leather jacket and hot pink trousers.
Abigail Hauslohner is a national reporter who covers Islam, Arab affairs and America. She spent the night at an aunt's house.More news: Did Kylie Jenner And Travis Scott Split On Christmas Day?