Communal funeral for Bronx fire victims set for Sunday

Northeast

Firefighters work outside an apartment building after a fire in the Bronx, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — A week after a blaze in a Bronx high-rise killed 17 people and injured many more, a communal funeral for the victims is planned for Sunday.

The service will be held at the Islamic Cultural Center in the Bronx, a mosque where some of the victims’ families have been going to grieve, Imam Musa Kabba of Masjid-Ur-Rahmah said.

The fire was caused by a malfunctioning space heater inside an apartment, according to authorities.

What is now being called New York’s deadliest fire in decades killed eight children, and dozens of people were injured and displaced.  About 200 members of the New York City Fire Department battled the blaze, which rose to five alarms before it was brought under control.

A service was conducted Wednesday for two children who died in the blaze: 12-year-old Seydou Toure and sister Haouwa Mahamadou, 5.

Community leaders have been working to make arrangements for the remaining 15 victims, who all had ties to Gambia. Some families have been torn on whether to bury their loved ones in their home country or in the United States.

“There’s lots of emotion — lots of emotion — as we go back and forth about where to bury them, here or taking them back home,” Haji Dukuray, the uncle of Haja Dukuray, who died with her husband and three children, told the Associated Press.

Tijan Janneh, father of Sera Janneh, who died in the fire, says their family plans to bury her in Gambia.

“It just was so difficult,” said the 27-year-old’s father. “But we have a good community, and the city, the Bronx, the whole America, the whole world right now — they all pray for us.”

The Gambian government is ready to assist in any way it can, Alhagie Ebou Cham, the president of the United Gambians Association and an honorary Consul for Gambia, said.

Multiple entities have been raising money for those affected by the fire, and community activists have pleaded for more help for those who survived, as some have been having trouble getting services or what they need, particularly cash.

NewsNation local affiliate WPIX reported that survivors of the fire filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the building’s landlords earlier this week. The lawsuit cites self-closing doors that didn’t close, fire alarms that went off “all the time” and the lack of a sprinkler system.

Another lawsuit was filed against city authorities, accusing them of giving “lip service” to safety and fire issues, allegedly making them responsible for the injuries and deaths, as well, according to WPIX.

Here is what information is out there about the identified victims:

  • Fatoumata Dukureh, 5-year-old girl
  • Foutmala Drammeh, 21-year-old woman
  • Fatoumata Tunkara, 43-year-old woman
  • Haja Dukureh, 37-year-old woman
  • Haji Dukary, 49-year-old man
  • Haouwa Mahamadou, 5-year-old girl
  • Mariam Dukureh, 11-year-old girl
  • Muhammed Drammeh, 12-year-old boy
  • Mustapha Dukureh, 12-year-old boy
  • Nyumaaisha Drammeh, 19-year-old woman
  • Omar Jambang, 6-year-old boy
  • Sera Janneh,27-year-old woman
  • Seydou Toure, 12-year-old boy

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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