Scenes from a weekend of mourning in the Bronx
A funeral was held on Sunday to commemorate 17 lives lost a week ago when New York’s deadliest fire in decades tore through an apartment building in the Bronx. All the victims were of West African origin, originating from Gambia, Mali and Guinea. Half of them were children; the youngest was 2 years old.
Fifteen coffins arrived at the Islamic Cultural Center on Sunday morning, around the same time of day as the tragedy had occurred a week earlier, when a heater caught fire. (A separate service was held on Wednesday for the other two victims, from Mali.)
Many residents complained of insufficient heating, and many families in the building had space heaters.
The head of the Islamic center, Sheikh Musa Drammeh, took the opportunity to denounce the living conditions that allowed the fire to occur, addressing his remarks to the elected officials who came to pay their respects, including Mayor Eric Adams, the Senator Chuck Schumer and the attorney. General Letitia James.
“If these people lived in Midtown Manhattan, this wouldn’t have happened. They wouldn’t have needed space heaters. The conditions they lived in in the Bronx caused their deaths,” he said, turning to officials and adding, “Mr. Mayor, did you hear? Mr. Schumer, did you hear?
The following are scenes from the grieving community over the weekend:
A crowd gathered outside the Islamic Cultural Center on Sunday.
Family members and neighbors gathered in tents when the coffins arrived at the center on Sunday, one for the women and another for the grieving men.
Mourners entered the center for the Sunday prayer service.
Photos of the victims were placed on a memorial in front of the Twin Parks North West building on Friday.
Crowds watched the coffins brought to the center on Sunday.
Hearses lined the streets as the coffins arrived.
Anita Konaté wept for the victims of the fire as she stood outside the center on Sunday.
Mourners hold on to a coffin as it is rolled into the crowd.
The men’s prayer room was packed Sunday morning.
Members of the New York City Fire Department attended the prayer service.
The room was so tight that the imam had to shout repeatedly to clear a path so the coffins could be brought in and put away.
“What’s happening here in the Bronx is what’s happening in our city, where the black, brown and immigrant communities are,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Sunday. “It is time to end these inequalities so that our babies and our families are not torn apart by tragedy. The American dream of too many people burned in this fire.
The Masjid-Ur-Rahmah community wept as Imam Musa Kabba delivered a sermon at a separate prayer service on Friday.
The victims, including eight children, lost their lives from smoke inhalation, according to the city medical examiner.
Those who could not enter the center for Sunday service looked out the windows.