A Fatal Bronx Fire
Communities, led by West African families, mount responses and mourn
A fire unseen for over 30 years
It had been over three decades since a Bronx nightclub was set on fire claiming the lives of 87 people. The culprit spent his last days of a life sentence in 2016 behind bars. Early this January, countless families experience the horror of losing loved ones as a fire consumed the Twin Parks NW apartment building in the Bronx. Built as low-income housing in 1974, the building was home to ranging ethnicities. It most prominently featured West Africans who championed a tight-knit community.
A Sunday morning of horror
All residents of the complex were awakened Sunday, January 9, to billowing smoke, blazing fire, and overwhelming panic. The fire chief, Daniel A. Nigro, described the scene saying, “Smoke spread throughout the building, thus the tremendous loss of life and other people fighting for their lives.” A total of 19 people died from the raging fire, including nine children.
“Smoke spread throughout the building, thus the tremendous loss of life and other people fighting for their lives.”
Another 44 were injured, 13 of them critically. Mostly all were from the Gambia. The fire started from a small heater being used to supplement the struggling heating system throughout the building. With no access to fire escapes the stage was set for a heartbreaking outcome.
A call to action
Several community organizations and leaders quickly rallied aid for survivors as dozens of families, teary-eyed walked through hospitals and neighborhoods reckoning with their grief. National figures and celebrities sent condolences and material support for burial funds and recovery. Islamic Relief USA was among many faith-based partners to respond to the sobering devastation.
In order to assist families, many of whom were already stressed with financial difficulties, IRUSA donors provided cash assistance to help families purchase essentials, including food, medicine, clothes, and more. Please keep these families in your prayers. The families served will be using the support to supplement things food budgets, medicine, and purchasing new clothing after fleeing the apartment building with nothing but what little they could carry. Donors are still being encouraged to continue sending support and keeping the survivors in their prayers.
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