NEW YORK – The youngest was 2 years old. The oldest, 50 years old. Families have lost several loved ones. The students have lost classmates. Mothers and fathers have lost children.
Seventeen people in the Bronx died on Sunday in one of New York’s worst fires in decades after a faulty radiator ignited and smoke suffocated the building, authorities said.
All 17, including eight children, died from smoke inhalation, according to the city’s medical examiner. Fire Marshal Daniel Nigro said two self-closing doors – one in the unit where the fire started and the other in the 15th floor stairwell – did not close properly, allowing smoke to spread.
The New York Police Department released the names of the 17 victims on Tuesday, including several members of the same families.
“It’s a global tragedy,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference on Monday. “Everyone feels the pain of what we are going through.”
Community members mourned the victims during a candlelight vigil in the building on Tuesday. Many victims worshiped at the nearby Masjid-Ur-Rahmah mosque, and some were of Gambian descent.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BRONX FIRE:How smoke from radiator fire killed 17 people in New York apartment building
The Dukuray family
Haji Dukuray, 49; Haja Dukuray, 37 years old; and their three children, Mustapha, 12 years old; Mariam, 11 years old; and Fatoumata, 5, were killed in the fire.
New York Police provided a different spelling for the family’s last name; however, a GoFundMe spelled it Dukuray, and family members told the New York Times that the spelling was Dukuray.
Hawa Dukuray, a relative, told the New York Times that the family is very close.
Haji worked in a restaurant and Haja was a home health aide, Hawa Dukuray told the newspaper. The children were brilliant students and Mustapha got good grades in school, she said. Their parents immigrated from The Gambia in 2007.
Mustapha had just celebrated his birthday the day before the fire.
HOW TO STAY SAFE:Take precautions against a fire in your home
The Drammeh family
Fatoumata Drammeh, 50, and her three children, Fatoumala, 21; Nyumaaisha “Aïcha”, 19; and Muhammed, 12, were among the dead.
New York Police provided a different spelling for Fatoumala’s name; however, one GoFundMe spelled her Fatoumala, and Ishak Drammeh, the father of the children, told the New York Post and The Times that her name was Fatoumala.
Ishak Drammeh told media he was on a business trip to Ohio when the fire broke out.
“One day they left and you will never see them again,” he told The Post on Tuesday.
Arriving at the mosque for prayer on Wednesday, Ishak Drammeh said he was grateful that another girl survived the blaze, and he hopes his 16-year-old son Yacub will be released from the hospital soon.
“I’m trying to deal with this,” he said. “I’m trying to take it from God. Whenever I think of them, I pray for them.
ARE WATER HEATERS SAFE? Simple mistakes can easily start a deadly fire, experts warn.
Fatoumala was studying economics at the University of Buffalo and was due to graduate soon, Drammeh told The Times and The Post. Nyumaaisha worked in a hospital and was due to enter college this year, he told the Post.
Fatima Drammeh, 23, who was not at home when the fire broke out,told The Times the family celebrated their brother Muhammed’s 12th birthday in a trampoline park.
“We were just jumping, running, we were trying to run on obstacle courses,” she told the newspaper. “It’s a sweet memory I have.”
Hagi Jawara and Isatou Jabbie
Hagi Jawara, 47, and his wife, Isatou Jabbie, 31, have died.
Jawara’s brother Yusupha told The Associated Press he rushed to the scene of the blaze from his neighboring home to help rescue workers. He noticed a man on a stretcher who looked like his brother.
“I was just helping EMS transport someone to the hospital when I saw him – someone like him – on a stretcher brought to the emergency room,” he told the Press Agency. “At that point, I didn’t have the focus to know it was him.
AUTOMATIC CLOSING DOORS:City inspectors have previously reported issues with self-closing doors
He tried to call his brother and sister-in-law later that day but never got a response. A GoFundMe said the couple left four children behind. The page spelled Hagi and Isatou’s names differently from how the police spell them. The spelling was also different from what Yusupha Jawara told The Associated Press.
Yusupha Jawara told the New York Post that he was planning the funeral and trying to find a way to break the news to his brother’s children.
“(Jabbie) loved his children to death,” he said. “Children were his life.”
Fatoumata Tunkara, Omar Jambang and Ousmane Konteh
Fatoumata Tunkara, 43, was with her son Omar Jambang, 6, and nephew, Ousmane Konteh, 2, when the fire broke out, the New York Daily News reported.
Another son, Abdullaie Chan, 19, told the New York Daily News that his mother and brother were stuck on the 19th floor in a friend’s apartment.
“I knew she was in this building, but I thought she got out on time,” Chan told the newspaper. “Calling him, calling him, over 40 times. She didn’t pick up the phone. … I feel like she wasn’t supposed to be there.
Chan said he had three younger sisters for whom he felt responsible. A GoFundMe page, which indicated the family was from The Gambia, attempted to raise funds to bring the bodies of Tunkara and Omar home.
“We are heartbroken right now,” added Yahya Sankanu, Ousmane’s uncle and Tunkara’s cousin, in an interview with the Daily News. “We don’t know what to do.”
Ousmane was the youngest victim of the fire.
Sera Janneh, 27, rushed to escape from her sixth-floor apartment with her family, her sister Mareama told The New York Times.
Janneh collapsed and another sister, Isatou, was hospitalized. A GoFundMe page said Isatou Janneh was intubated due to smoke inhalation.
Mareama Janneh told The Times that Sera was a student at Lehman College in the Bronx, studying to be a social worker, and was an active member of the Gambian Youth Organization.
Seydou Touré and Haouwa Mahamadou
Seydou Touré, 12, an eighth-grader who died in the fire, was a student at Angelo Patri Middle School, next to the building, The New York Times reported.
His classmates crossed the street on Tuesday to put up a notice board with Seydou’s photo in the building, the Times reported.
“They wanted to do that, and for me it all depends on what they want to do, how they want to express their emotions,” Angel Ortega, the principal of the school, told the newspaper.
Haouwa Mahamadou, 5, was Seydou’s sister and was also killed in the fire. The siblings were recalled Wednesday during a funeral at a Harlem mosque.
Contribution: The Associated Press