Bronx fire kills 8 children, 1 adult (

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NEW YORK (AP) — Eight children and an adult died and several others were injured in a house fire that authorities are calling one of New York”s deadliest blazes in recent memory.

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Witnesses described a ghastly sight of a woman hurling children through broken windows in hopes of saving the kids from Wednesday night”s inferno.

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"All I see is just a big cloud of white dust and out of nowhere comes the first baby," said Edward Soto, who managed to catch two of the children thrown from the window.

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All the while, screams of "help me, help me" spread through the three-story home, said Soto, who helped rescue the children with neighbor David Todd, 40.

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Fire Department spokesman Seth Andrews confirmed the death toll early Thursday. The cause of the fire had not been determined.

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At least 10 people were hurt, five of them seriously injured. Four firefighters and one other emergency worker were hospitalized with minor injuries.

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Infant among dead

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Michael Heller, spokesman at Jacobi Medical Center, said five children ranging in age from 2 to 6 were taken to the Bronx hospital. They are suffering smoke inhalation and burns, and three are in critical condition.

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One of the victims — an infant less than a year old — died at Jacobi, Heller said.

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Fatoumata Madassa, a relative of some of the residents, said four families lived in the brick building. She said they were largely immigrants from Mali, and that the four families have 17 children.

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Madassa, who lives across the street, said she saw the fire, and her husband quickly ran to the blaze but there was too much smoke for him to help.

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The fire was reported shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday. It burned in the basement and first floor, Andrews said.

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The neighborhood is in the south Bronx, not far from Yankee Stadium.

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Neighbors said at least one of the families ran an import-export business, and a public records search lists African American Import Export at the address.

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All the injured people were taken to local hospitals, Andrews said. At least two were taken to a burn unit for further treatment.

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Firefighters had the blaze under control shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday, he said.

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Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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