Families prepare to lay to rest victims lost in Bronx fire

NEW YORK — Prayers and the compelling want to bury the useless stuffed a Bronx mosque Wednesday, as a bereaved group ready to say goodbye to these lost in New York City’s most devastating fire in a long time.

Among these awaiting funeral rites are a 2-year-old boy, a mom who died with three of her youngsters, a household of 5, and a husband and spouse whose 4 youngsters at the moment are orphans. In all, 17 individuals died, together with eight youngsters.

Burial plans remained unsure as some households watch for funeral houses to ship their family members and, in some instances, deciding between burials right here or having their family members returned to Gambia. Islamic legislation requires our bodies to be cleansed and buried as quickly as attainable after loss of life, often inside 24 hours.

“This group, these individuals have gone via a lot,” stated Sheikh Musa Drammeh, who helps the neighborhood address the tragedy at a Bronx house complicated.

“Now they’re mourning, however they’re very understanding that if it occurred, it had to occur,” he stated. “And they haven’t any proper to query why it occurred.”

The health worker’s workplace stated two of the useless had been launched earlier in the week and stated funeral houses have but to take possession of the others.

“We have been open, and we’re prepared to launch the decedents, so there’s no delay on our finish,” stated the health worker’s spokesperson, Julie Bolcer.

A memorial wall took form close to the burned house constructing Wednesday afternoon, as a Miami man, Leo Soto, invited passers-by to affix pictures of the useless, flowers and indicators with messages like “Bronx sturdy” to a fence. He had helped manage an analogous effort after final June’s rental collapse in Surfside, Florida, and traveled to the Bronx after listening to about the fire.

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“It’s a special group,” Soto stated, “however the identical quantity of struggling.”

Community leaders had been huddling to plan funeral preparations. The overwhelming majority of those that died in the fire had ties to Gambia, Africa’s tiniest nation.

“The most essential factor is absolutely giving one another assist. We are all members of the identical group, so we’re like household,” stated Haji Dukuray, whose niece, Haja, died in the fire together with her husband and their three youngsters — Fatoumata, 5, Mariam, 11, and Mustafa, 12.

Mustafa had simply celebrated his birthday, the night time earlier than the fire.

“Such stunning angelic eyes,” neighbor Renee Howard, 68, had stated about Mustafa earlier in the week.

The health worker’s workplace stated all of the victims suffocated from the thick smoke that poured out of a third-floor house, the place officers say a malfunctioning electrical area heater sparked the fire. The fire itself did not unfold far, however the smoke streamed into hallways and stuffed a stairwell.

People ran down the darkened steps, some from the highest flooring of the 19-story constructing. Many escaped, however others collapsed and perished on their means down.

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In the primary lawsuit to come up from the fire, a married couple that lives in the constructing accused the constructing’s house owners of negligence due to an absence of functioning security measures.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in state court docket in the Bronx, cites self-closing doorways that didn’t shut, fire alarms that went off “on a regular basis” and the shortage of a sprinkler system, though one was not required by legislation.

The lawsuit seeks class-action standing for all constructing residents and contains calls for for no less than $1 billion in damages.

In response, the possession group, Bronx Park Phase III Preservation, LLC, unhappy it was “devastated” by the tragedy and was “cooperating totally with the Fire Department and different companies as they proceed to examine.”

An inventory of names of the deceased from New York City police included eight youngsters. The useless ranged in age from 2-year-old Ousmane Konteh to 50-year-old Fatoumata Drammeh, who died together with three of her youngsters — Foutmala, 21, Nyumaaisha, 19, and Muhammed, 12.

Ishak Drammeh arrived on the mosque Wednesday to be part of in prayers and make funeral preparations for his spouse and three youngsters, who he plans to lay to rest in the United States.

Drammeh was drained however calm as he spoke contained in the mosque.

“I strive to cope with it,” he stated. “I strive to take it from God. Every time I consider them, I pray for them.”

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He was grateful that one other daughter survived and hopes his son Yajub, 16, will quickly be launched from the hospital.

He was in Columbus, Ohio, for work when a cousin knowledgeable him of the fire.

Inside the mosque, individuals sat with Drammeh and stored him firm between prayers.

The mosque’s imam, Musa Kabba, envisioned a single service for all of the Gambian victims as a means to encompass them with assist. Two of the useless had been believed to come from households hailing from Mali, and would have separate companies.

“We’re all very anxious, to be sincere with you,” stated Dukuray. “It’s a very powerful factor to know proper now and I can’t give attention to something till that that actually occurs.”

But amid the tragedy, he and others stated, the destiny of their family members is in God’s fingers.

“As a Muslim, what we’re taught in our religion, what it teaches us, when something occurs to us when there is a catastrophe or whether or not you lose one thing otherwise you lose a liked one,” he stated, “is that the great Lord has allowed it.”

Dukuray continued: “The solely factor we’re assured in this life is loss of life.”


Associated Press journalists Mary Altaffer and Michael R. Sisak in New York, and Michael Hill in Albany, New York, contributed to this report.


This story has been corrected to present that Drammeh’s son in the hospital is called Yajub, not Yacub.

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