NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Five children were hospitalized after a fire in a Bronx hi-rise Wednesday afternoon.
Officials say flames broke out shortly before 1:30 p.m. at the Butler Houses on Webster Avenue near East 170th Street in the Claremont section
A three-year-old girl, four-year-old girl, seven-year-old girl, eight-year-old boy, and ten year-old boy were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment. The 8-year-old was in critical condition at Cornell Hospital, with the remaining kids’ injuries ranging form serious to minor.
Sources tell CBS2 the kids were being babysat by their 15-year-old cousin who stepped out to purchase ingredients for the food she was making shortly before the fire started in the seventh-floor apartment.
A neighbor, who did not want to be identified, watched from the street as the children called for help from the windows.
“We saw fire and smoke coming out of the windows,” the neighbor said. “We saw the little kid’s hand sticking out the window waving, trying to ask for help. It was just chaos.”
Ophelia Alves lives in the building and smelled the smoke. She says she’s furious that the children were left alone, if even for a short amount of time.
“It’s crazy,” she said. “we’re neighbors, you should let us know if you’re leaving. Let us know children are by themselves so we can look out for the kids.”
The cause of the fire is not yet known.