At least fifteen more Gambians are confirmed dead in one of New York City’s deadliest fire incidents in modern history among the 17 people that perished including eight children, Family, and relatives of the victims confirmed to The Alkamba Times.
The Sunday evening fire at a Bronx high-rise apartment building has left many families devastated with the majority of victims from the Gambia and other West African states.
Firefighters were called to the building on East 181st Street in Fordham Heights, Bronx just before Sunday midnight for a fire on the third floor of the 19-story high-rise.
The Alkamba Times was able to identify some of the victims of the fire disaster through family contacts and among those confirmed dead includes a couple in Hagie Jawara and Isatou Jabbi, who left four children behind them, Fatoumata Tunkara, Isatou Tunkara, and her son, The wife and son of A tax specialist in the Bronx community popularly known as Jambang, Fatoumata Drammeh and her three children Muhammed, Fatoumata, and Aisha Drammeh and Sera Janneh among others whose identities are yet to be confirmed by family members.
“It is shocking and totally devasting because it’s a community where I was born and raised and these are people I have known for my entire life. I have been to school with some of them or people I know, who know them… This is very devastating for us,” Mariama Konteh, who was born and raised in the Bronx with some of the victims told Alkamba Times.
I feel a level of helplessness because I am from that community. the Elementary school I went to is less than five minutes’ work from that building, she said while praying for departed souls.
“This is a horrific, horrific, painful moment for the City of New York. The impact of this fire is going to really bring a level of pain and despair to our city. We have over 32 people who have life-threatening injuries, we have nine serious injuries, and 22 injuries that are non-life-threatening. We have one member of service who was also removed from the hospital. This is going to be one of the worst fires we have witnessed during modern times,” said Mayor Eric Adams from the scene of a 5-alarm fire at 333 East 181 Street in the Bronx.
Meanwhile, Among the 63 residents injured, 32 had life-threatening injuries, nine had serious injuries, and 22 were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Gambians from both home and abroad are mourning the loss of loved ones and raising funds to support victims’ recovery efforts. A gofundme account set up 24 hours after the blaze by Gambian Youth Association in the Bronx to raise funds for the victims has attracted a global outpour of support with donors raising $727,160 for the victims and the original goal was to raise $200,000 but it has exceeded that threshold.
The fire incident was the deadliest New York City blaze since 87 people perished in March 1990 in the Happy Land social-club arson attack, which took place less than a mile away.