NYC's four deadliest fires since 1990 have all been in the Bronx

The Happy Land social club fire in the Bronx killed 87 people on March 25, 1990.

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, January 10, 2022
Happy Land social club and other deadliest fires in New York City history
New York City's four deadliest fires since 1990 have all been in the Bronx, including the Happy Land Social Club fire.

THE BRONX (WABC) -- New York City's four deadliest fires since 1990 have all been in the Bronx.

On Sunday, at least 19 people were killed, including nine children, in a catastrophic fire that broke out at a high-rise apartment building in the Tremont section, officials said, making it one of the most deadly fires since 1990.

March 25, 1990 - Happy Land Social Club Fire

87 people were killed in the Happy Land Social Club fire. Julio Gonzalez deliberately set the club on fire and blocked its only exit.

Gonzalez's former girlfriend was employed at the club. Most of the people who died were young Hondurans celebrating Carnival.

He was ultimately convicted of murder and arson. He died in jail serving his sentence.

March 8, 2007 - Woodycrest Ave. Fire

Ten people were killed, nine of them children, in a fire on 1022 Woodycrest Avenue in the Highbridge section. The fire was sparked by an overheated cord to a space heater in the basement bedroom.

The woman who first noticed the fire tried to first put it out by herself, not calling 9-1-1 for several minutes. The building's two smoke detectors also had no batteries.

Those inside the burning inferno threw the children out the windows, in a desperate attempt to save their lives.

December 28, 2017 - Belmont Apartment Fire

Thirteen people were killed in an apartment fire on 2363 Prospect Avenue. Officials say the fast-moving fire was started by a three-year-old boy playing with burners on the stove.

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Charred items sit on the fire escape of an apartment building where more than 10 people died in a fire a day earlier in the Bronx borough of New York, Friday, Dec. 29, 2017.
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

The boy's mother was alerted to the fire by the boy screaming. She escaped the apartment with her kids but left the front door open.

The victims ranged in age from 1 to 63.

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