Thursday night's apartment fire in the Bronx is the deadliest in New York City since 1990, when 87 people died in a blaze at the Happy Land social club.
Williams's other sister, Shevan Williams managed to survive the blaze after escaping in time from her first floor apartment.
The fire, the deadliest in the city in a quarter of a century, broke out on the first floor of a brick building and quickly spread upstairs, killing people on multiple floors, the New York City Fire Department said.
She took her two children and fled the apartment -leaving the door open.
Nigro said Friday that it wasn't yet known if all the apartments' smoke alarms were working.
The fire quickly spread upward in the five-story building. They couldn't get back down. At least four others were injured.
Fire Department of New York (FDNY) personnel work on the scene of an apartment fire in Bronx, New York, U.S. December 28, 2017. Four [victims], one family? "I couldn't carry the rest of them", Reyes told the Times. Not considering the possibility of a fire, Sakyi said she initially took off all of her clothes, but then went to the door to see what was happening. "We are hoping that it's him, one of them is him".
"That's my prayer", Bredu said.
In all, 170 firefighters were called in to fight the blaze, but the cold weather made things worse, since crews had to battle the flames with freezing hoses.
No self-closing door violations were issued during an inspection in August, though the city would not have examined every apartment, Creegan said. "It felt like we'd been living in a war zone", said Carole Van Duzer of Erie, Pennsylvania, which was buried this week under five feet of snow.
According to city records, the building had no elevator. Children without coats huddled on fire escapes as firefighters worked through icy conditions to bring the flames under control in about two hours.
It was not clear if the detector had been fixed or replaced or whether it had played any role in the fire. Investigators will look at whether the door to the apartment was defective or if an obstruction prevented it from closing, he said.
"When I saw it on the news this morning I started crying", said Nancy Clark, a 42-year-old Bronx resident, who came to the scene Friday to donate blankets, phone chargers and toiletries to the families who had been displaced.
While the doors are required in any apartment building with more than three units, they sometimes do not work properly because they get clogged or dirty, NY fire-safety consultant Jim Bullock said.