FORDHAM HEIGHTS, the Bronx — The remaining victims of the 17 people killed in a Bronx high-rise fire on Sunday were identified early Wednesday, including a 2-year-old boy who was the youngest victim in the deadly blaze.
Eight children were among those killed after a malfunctioning space heater sparked the apartment fire on the third floor of the 19-story building on East 181st Street.
Spring-loaded hinges that were supposed to shut the door automatically did not work. A second door left open in a stairwell higher up acted as a flue, sucking smoke upward.
The NYPD released the identities of the final three victims on Wednesday:
- Ousmane Konteh, a 2-year-old boy
- Isatou Jabbie, a 31-year-old woman
- Hagi Jawara, a 47-year-old man
Among these final victims named were husband and wife Hagi Jawara and Isatou Jabbie.
Hagi’s brother, Yusupha Jawara, lives nearby and rushed to the scene of the deadly blaze on Sunday to help transport victims to the hospital, not knowing whether or not his brother was okay.
But as the day wore on, his concern about his family grew. His brother Hagi did not answer the phone. Neither did his sister-in-law.
Then he thought back to a brief glance of the man on a gurney whose hair and partially masked face looked so much like his brother. It couldn’t be, he thought. Surely, his brother would have been safe on the 18th floor, far from the fire that started 15 stories below.
“I was just helping the EMS transport one person to the hospital when I saw him — somebody similar like him — on a stretcher being brought to the ER,” Jawara said Tuesday as his family began making funeral plans for their loved ones. “At that time, I didn’t have the focus to know that it was him.”
But when his sister-in-law’s cellphone was found on the street, he knew something was amiss.
Jawara’s brother and sister-in-law were among the victims of the city’s deadliest fire in more than three decades.
Jawara’s brother fled to the United States in the 1990s as a refugee during the civil war in his homeland, Sierra Leone. He later married a Gambian woman whose family had settled in the Bronx.
Authorities on Tuesday released the names of the majority of the victims, including seven children ranging from 5 to 12 years old. The oldest was a 50-year-old woman.
- Sera Janneh, a 27-year-old woman
- Seydou Toure, a 12-year-old boy
- Haouwa Mahamadou, a 5-year-old girl
- Haji Dukary, a 49-year-old man
- Haja Dukureh, a 37-year-old woman
- Mustapha Dukureh, a 12-year-old boy
- Mariam Dukureh, an 11-year-old girl
- Fatoumata Dukureh, a 5-year-old girl
- Fatoumata Drammeh a 50-year-old woman
- Foutmala Drammeh, a 21-year-old woman
- Muhammed Drammeh, a 12-year-old boy
- Nyumaaisha Drammeh, a 19-year-old woman
- Omar Jambang, a 6-year-old boy
- Fatoumata Tunkara, a 43-year-old woman
The medical examiner’s office has begun releasing some of the dead to funeral homes.
Of the 17 victims, 16 were from the same community in Gambia, in West Africa. New York City’s chief medical examiner told NewsNation that smoke inhalation was the cause of death for all those killed.
At least a dozen of those who perished worshipped at the Masjid-Ur-Rahmah mosque, where imam Musa Kabba has been helping the community grieve.
“Things have been very slow, but we have to be patient,” the imam said.
A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday night to honor and remember those lost in the fire, while dozens of victims remain hospitalized days after the blaze.