Five Jamaicans among 13 killed in New York fire

Fire Department of New York (FDNY) personnel work on the scene of an apartment fire in Bronx in New York, U.S., December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

 (Jamaica Gleaner) Five Jamaicans are among 13 people who died in a massive fire at an apartment building in the Bronx in New York City last night.

They are from the same family.

Their identities have not been released by New York City officials but The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre understands that among the five is 37-year-old Karen Francis, who is from Spanish Town in St Catherine.

Francis’ two children, two-year-old Kylie Francis and seven-year-old Kelesha Francis, along with her 19-year-old niece Shawntay Young, are said to be among the dead.

Karen’s husband Holt Francis later died in hospital where he had been admitted in serious condition.

Fire Department of New York (FDNY) personnel work on the scene of an apartment fire in Bronx in New York, U.S., December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

In a release, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamina Johnson Smith said she was unable to confirm the deaths of the Jamaicans.

She expressed regret at the tragedy and said the Foreign Ministry was working with the Jamaican Consulate in New York to get details on the deaths.

In the meantime, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio described the apartment fire as the deadliest residential fire in decades.

The cause of the fire is blamed on a three-year-old child playing with a stove in one of the apartments.

City officials say the fire spread quickly through the five-story building.

Excluding the September 11 attacks, it is the worst fire in the city since 87 people were killed at a social club fire in the Bronx in 1990.

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