These are the victims of the deadly Bronx fire

A person walks past an apartment building that was hit by the city’s deadliest fire in three decades, in the Bronx neighborhood of New York, Tuesday, January 11, 2022. A faulty electric space heater apparently started the fire Sunday in the 19-story building in the Bronx, said the fire department. (AP Photo / Matt Rourke)

NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) – Investigators are trying to determine why security doors did not close when a fire broke out in a New York high-rise, allowing thick smoke to rise through the tower and kill 17 people, including eight children, in the city’s deadliest fire in more than three decades.

A faulty electric space heater apparently started the fire Sunday in the 19-story building in the Bronx, fire officials said. The flames damaged only a small part of the building, but the smoke flowed in through the apartment’s open door and turned stairwells into dark, ash-stricken death traps. The stairs were the only escape method in a tower that was too high for fire stairs.

Among the dead were three children of Haja Dukuray and Haji Dukuray, originally from Gambia, according to a family member. Haja’s uncle told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the children’s parents did not survive.

“This is a very close community. We’re mostly from a city in Gambia called Alunghare, so we’re all family,” said Dukuray, who drove to the Bronx from his home in Delaware on Monday. “Most people here, we are all in one way or another. “

Most of the 17 victims killed have been identified.

Here’s what we know about the identified victims:

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

Haja Dukureh was a stay-at-home mom, the family told NewsNation affiliated with WPIX.

“The son, Mustapha, was just an amazing boy, and almost all the neighbors know him,” said one relative. “I hear stories about him right now as he walks around knocking on doors during the fire to help people.”

In Masjid-ur-Rahmah, a mosque just a few blocks from the apartment building, more than two dozen people met in solidarity on Monday. Many of those who pray in the mosque live in the building.

Gambia’s ambassador to the United States, Dawda Fadera, said on Monday that he traveled from Washington DC to New York to learn more about the fire and share official condolences from the president of the West African country.

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