FORDHAM HEIGHTS, the Bronx — Most of the 17 victims killed in a Bronx fire on Sunday have been identified.
Eight children were among the dead. Sunday’s blaze was started by a malfunctioning space heater.
Of the 17 people killed, 16 were from the same community in Gambia, in West Africa. New York City’s chief medical examiner told NewsNation smoke inhalation was the cause of death for all 17 victims.
The NYPD released the names of many of the victims on Tuesday:
- 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
Among the dead were three children of Haja Dukuray and Haji Dukuray, originally from Gambia, according to Haji Dukuray, the uncle of Haja Dukuray. The uncle told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the children’s parents did not survive.
“This is a very close-knit community. We are predominantly from one town in the Gambia called Alunghare, so we are all family,” said Dukuray, who drove to the Bronx from his home in Delaware on Monday. “Most of the people here, we are all related in one way or the other.”
Haja Dukureh was a stay-at-home mom, family told PIX11 News.
“The son, Mustapha, was just an amazing boy and almost all the neighbors know him,” a relative said. “I’m hearing stories about him right now, going around knocking on doors during the fire to help people.”
Renee Howard, 68, became emotional as she spoke about the lives lost.
“I’ve never experienced such devastation. My neighbors died, children died — I don’t understand, I don’t understand,” she said as she broke into sobs.
“I don’t remember all their names right now,” she said, before rattling off a few, including one boy who she described as having “such beautiful angelic eyes.”
All those lives, she said, were “snatched away in a second.”
Friends, neighbors and strangers gathered Tuesday night in the shadow of the Twin Parks North West building to pray and mourn.
“We are joined here to first and foremost pray for those souls that we have lost. Seventeen neighbors, nine adults and eight precious children, the youngest being 3-years-old,” Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson said.
Sunday’s fire at the 19-story brick building in Fordham Heights not only took the lives of 17 people, but injured dozens and left many more homeless.
“Your loss is beyond words, but I want you to know you have gained a community that loves you,” Congressman Ritchie Torres said.
Jemal Vaughn lives around the corner from the building and braved the frigid weather to show support. He saw unconscious children being pulled out.
“[It was] devastating, like one of the saddest things in my life I’ve seen,” he said.