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A three-year-old boy playing with stove burners accidentally ignited the fire that ripped through a NY apartment building, killing 12 people including four children, the city's fire department chief has said.

Twum Bredu (BREH'-doo) says Mensah had recently graduated from Army National Guard boot camp.

The fire started in the first-floor apartment of an old 5-story building and spread through all floors, killing 12 people. The fire is the city's deadliest, excluding the September 11 attacks, since the fire at the Happy Land nightclub in the Bronx in March 1990, which killed 87 people.

The city housing department said investigators would look into why the door did not close automatically, though Mayor Bill de Blasio said there was "nothing problematic about the building that contributed to this tragedy". From there, the fire spread throughout the five-story building, authorities said.

Residents of a Bronx apartment building where a deadly fire broke out are describing a chaotic scene.

City Department of Buildings records show the building is a walk-up apartment house.

Fernando Batiz said his sister, Maria Batiz, 58, and her baby granddaughter also died, though the child's mother survived.

A fire official said the fire started when a 3-year-old boy played with burners on a stove.

The officials said the mother fled the burning apartment with the boy, leaving the apartment door open.

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A woman, her two daughters and a niece are among the dozen victims of a fire that raced through a century-old New York City apartment building.

The blaze broke out Thursday evening in a 25-apartment building near the Bronx Zoo, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States financial capital. His family checked four hospitals.

The "calm and lovely" young patriot had set his heart on becoming a soldier when the family moved to the United States from their native Ghana five or six years ago, Kwabena said. One family is still looking for a missing son, according to WABC.

The New York Police Department says those who died include girls ages 1, 2 and 7, and a boy. But the flames moved so fast, spreading through every floor of the building within minutes, that many never made it out of their apartments.

De Blasio said Friday on WNYC that four people are still fighting for their lives following the fire Thursday night in the Bronx.

Thursday's blaze is the deadliest fire in the city since 87 people were killed at a social club in 1990.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. In addition to the 12 who died, including four children, another four people who were critically injured in the Thursday night blaze were "fighting for their lives", the mayor said.

"Then we got changed and went through the fire escape", Crisbel said.