ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has offered his condolences to the victims of the “devastating” apartment fire in the Bronx borough of New York that killed 19 people, nine of them children. Francis sent a telegram to New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan offering “heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his spiritual closeness” to those affected by the blaze. The telegram was signed by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The blaze, which also sent dozens of people to the hospital, was the deadliest in New York City in three decades. Investigators say a malfunctioning electric space heater, plugged in to give extra heat on a cold morning, started the fire in the 19-story building.
Photo: Pope Francis waves as he arrives for an audience with members of St. Pietro and Paolo association, in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)