City sounds safety alarm after eight children, one adult killed in BX blaze

A fire that claimed the lives of eight children and one adult in Highbridge is serving as a safety reminder.

The fire at 1022 Woodycrest Ave. was reported after 11 p.m. Wednesday. Officials say it broke out in the basement and quickly spread.

According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R-NYC), lead paint and open doorways allowed the fire to grow. Bloomberg also said at a press conference that firefighters were not immediately called to the scene and smoke detectors didn't have batteries. Finally, the mayor blames cramped conditions, saying 22 people were living in one house.

While the blaze is under investigation, a space heater or overloaded circuit is thought to be the cause. Bloomberg is calling it the city's worst tragedy since the 1990 Happy Land nightclub fire in the Bronx.

Good Samaritan Edward Soto and another man rushed to help the children escape. Soto says a woman, who was screaming, "help me, help me," threw two children from a broken window. While the men were able to catch one child, another dropped to the ground. Officials say the woman jumped after tossing her children out the window.

The victims were related and from the West African nation of Mali. They include members of the Magassa, Soumare and Sibibe families. The victims range from 6 months old to 42 years old.

Related Information:Send checks to:5911 4th Ave.Brooklyn, NY 11220Make checks payable to: Mamadou SoumareMore info: (718) 492-7680Click here to view extended footage from the scene of the fire Click here to view Mayor Bloomberg's press conference on the fire

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