As flames worked their way upward from a furniture store to the flats above, families, including children, were forced out into historically low winter temperatures.
The fire started inside of 1547 Commonwealth Ave. near E. Tremont Avenue just after 5:30 a.m., fire officials say.
Residents from the apartments above fled, including a man who ran outside with no shirt and no shoes. "They will all be OK, thankfully", he said.
In this photo provided by the FDNY, firefighters battle a blaze at a building in the Bronx borough of New York, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018.More news: Zero first look: A pint-sized Shah Rukh casts a long shadow
The Fire quickly spread through the four-story building in the Bronx Tuesday morning.
"Our units arrived and were immediately faced with heavy fire". He said nine children and seven adults were taken to hospitals. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called it the worst fire tragedy the city has seen in a quarter century.
All of the residents of the building were believed to have been evacuated.
The fire came just days after * a href="https://newswire.storyful.com/storylines/*/stories/190936" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener" *another fire at a residential building in the Bronx claimed 12 lives. It was not clear when it would be habitable again.