Mass funeral prayer to be held for Bronx fire victims amid calls for justice

A large memorial has grown outside the scene of Sunday's devastating fire
TREMONT, Bronx (WABC) -- A mass funeral prayer for the 15 victims of the deadly Bronx apartment building fire will take place on Sunday, January 16.

The service is set to take place at 10 a.m. at the Islamic Cultural Center on 371 E. 166th St.



A large memorial has grown outside the scene of the devastating fire that left 17 people dead, including eight children, and the Tremont community calling for justice.
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Funerals for victims of the deadly Bronx apartment fire have started taking place amid calls for justice for the bereaved families. Marcus Solis with the full story.



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Tijan Janneh lost his 27-year-old daughter 'Sera' in the fire. For a moment, he put his grief aside to help, all while his other daughter is still in the hospital in critical condition.

"Yesterday my wife went there, she was able to open her eye and look at them and smile," Janneh said.

A number of residents are demanding someone be held accountable for tragic deaths, and neighbors are coming together to demand answers.

The Red Cross is paying for hotels until January 24, and building management is paying for others on a daily basis, although some are fearful of going back into their apartments.

"We shouldn't be forced to go back in here, it was tragic, we know a lot of the victims that passed. It's a horror story," said Vanessa Reid

Neighbors like area resident Edwin Rivera say the landlord should have known if self-closing door were in fact not working, which the FDNY says contributed to the city's worst fire in a generation.

"Sometimes you put tickets in or you bring it management, and they move when they want to move, you know?" area resident Rivera said. "And now look what happened."

Firefighters escorted the people who stayed behind down the very stairwell where so many of their neighbors died.

"The family next to us died, the whole family," resident Yesbely Fernandez said. "That could have been us."

Photos and memories are all that's left of the eight young children whose lives ended in terror.
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Craig Roberts was 12-year-old Seydou Toure's Humanities teacher at MS 391.

"You know, as a teacher, I taught this gentleman here for three years," Roberts said. "He was in 8th grade this year, and it's just devastating. You're a little numb when something like this happens."

Some of the tenants are suing the city and building management, which gave Eyewitness News the following statement:

"We are devastated by this terrible tragedy and are cooperating fully with the Fire Department and other agencies as they continue to investigate."

One of the landlords, Rick Gropper, served on Mayor Eric Adams' housing transition team.

"The fact that they had this landlord on their transition team, that's concerning," said Bill Neidhardt, who served as former Mayor Bill de Blasio's communications director. "The fact that their step right after this fire is to get rid of the deputy mayor for housing, that's concerning. A lot of signs are pointing to a growing concern that City Hall is not going to be there when tenants need them to be there."

A spokesperson has since said that the committee, consisting of almost 800 people has ended and that the 56-person housing group's work consisted of two zooms, neither of which included Mayor Adams.

Two of the young victims, Toure and his 5-year-old sister Haouwa Mahamadou, were remembered Wednesday during funeral services at the Timbuktu Islamic Center on West 144th Street in Harlem.

The parents of these two victims are from Mali, and the children were buried immediately after the funeral at a cemetery in New Jersey.

The rest of the victims are members of families from the Gambia.

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Burial plans remained uncertain for most of them, as some families waited for funeral homes to deliver their loved ones and, in some cases, worked to decide between burials here or having their loved ones returned to the Gambia.

Islamic law calls for bodies to be cleansed and buried as soon as possible after death, usually within 24 hours.



Here is the complete list of those who did not survive:

Ousmane Konteh
2-year-old boy

Haouwa Mahamadou
5-year-old girl

Fatoumata Dukureh
5-year-old girl

Omar Jambang
6-year-old boy

Mariam Dukureh
11-year-old girl

Mustapha Dukureh
12-year-old boy

Muhammed Drammeh
12-year-old boy

Seydou Toure
12-year-old boy

Nyumaaisha Drammeh
19-year-old woman

Fatoumata Drammeh
21-year-old woman

Sera Janneh
27-year-old woman

Isatou Jabbie
31-year-old woman

Haja Dukureh
37-year-old woman

Fatoumata Tunkara
43-year-old woman

Hagi Jawara
47-year-old man

Haji Dukaray
49-year-old man

Fatoumata Drammeh
50-year-old female

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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