A two-alarm fire in the Bronx that left three little boys dead, including a 4-month-old baby, was started by a candle that was burning in the apartment after electricity was cut off, officials said.
Fire officials say the fire broke out around 7:45 p.m. Friday evening inside an apartment on the second floor of a three-story building on West 165th Street in Highbridge. A candle in the kitchen was said to be the cause.
Police say 2-year-old Jeremiah Artis, 5-year-old Elijah Artis and 4-month old Michael Turner all died in the fire.
“FDNY fire marshals have determined the fire is accidental," authorities said in a statement. "And the fire was caused by a candle in the kitchen area.”
An official for Con Edison said the power had recently been shut off in the apartment because the bill, which totaled thousands of dollars, had not been paid.
The children's 25-year-old mother and two of their sisters were also brought to the hospital, where they were being treated for smoke inhalation.
"Fire inside that apartment basically burnt off some of the plaster off the walls and a couple rooms in that apartment were charred up pretty bad," said FDNY Chief Ronald Spadafora.
Witnesses said people rushed to get out of the building as the fire spread.
“It was a horrible sight,” said Al Meyers, who lives across the street. “People screaming, climbing out the fire escape.”
The building is near the site of a 2007 fire that killed 10, including eight children.