Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope marks Epiphany, encourages people to move past ‘consumerism’Tech exec resigns after antisemitic vaccination conspiracy theory emailPope urges efforts to protect women in New Year’s homilyMORE on Monday offered condolences to the victims of an apartment fire in New York City that killed more than a dozen people, including several children.
In a telegram to New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the pope extended “heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his spiritual closeness” to the victims of the “devastating” fire, according to The Associated Press.
The telegram, signed by the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, added that the pope “entrusts the victims and their families to the merciful love of Almighty God and invokes upon all consolation and strength in the Lord,” the AP reported.
The blaze started on Sunday afternoon by a malfunctioning electric space heater, New York City Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
Officials initially said that 19 people died in the fire, reportedly the deadliest fire New York has seen in three decades. The death toll was later revised to 17, including eight children.
Nearly 200 firefighters responded at the building after the flames erupted, and more than 30 people had serious injuries as a result of the incident as of Sunday, the fire department said in a tweet.
Mayor Eric Adams (D) called the death toll horrific, and Stefan Ringel, one of his senior advisers, added that upward of 60 people were injured in the fire.
Authorities are still investigating the incident.