As investigations progress into the fatal Bronx fire that left behind 17 dead, including 8 children, this Wednesday it was revealed that relatives of the victims and the same tenants affected by the incident, filed two lawsuits against the former and current owners of the building and also against the city, and whose amount it amounts to $ 3 billion.
All the fatal victims of the disaster, the older than 50 and the youngest just 2, died from the inhalation of smoke and not from the flames directly, and the first investigations indicate that the smoke expanded due to possible failures in the automatic closing systems of the doors, which remained open during the fire.
In the judicial complaint the defendants are blamed of not performing adequate maintenance on the building and, among other accusations, not guaranteeing that the property complied with the housing codes established after the approval of a law in 2018 that requires the installation of automatic door closing systems.
the same City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, confirmed that one of the doors of the second-floor apartment where the flames originated did not close automatically after the tenants left the house, and this caused the dense smoke to spread throughout practically the entire 19-story building. Another door on the escape stairs on the 15th floor also did not close as required by regulations, and that also contributed to creating the chimney effect within almost the entire structure.
Records of City Buildings Department (DOB) show that that property had received six notifications for problems related to automatic door closings, between 2013 and 2019, a time when there was a different owner than the current one. However, the current ‘landlord’ reported that as recently as last July a check was made of the main door of the house where the fire started, and at that time no maintenance problems were reported.
On the other hand, it was reported that a federal investigation will begin next Monday by the Product Safety Unit of the Department of Consumer Affairs, to determine why the artificial heater used by the family failed and whose malfunction caused the fire. In addition, State Attorney General Letitia James also reported that her office will initiate its own investigation into the incident.
Five members of the same family
The authorities confirmed that among the 17 fatal victims were two families of five members each, and in which, in addition to the death of the spouses, three children died in both.
Another fact that was confirmed is that at least 21 families have still not been able to return to their apartments and are receiving assistance from various organizations and the City.
Both to help family members of the deceased with funeral expenses and to assist homeless tenants, a GoFundMe account was opened that has already raised more than $ 1 million in donations.
List of deceased:
- Will Janneh, 27
- Seydou Toure, 12
- Haouwa Mahamadou, 5
- Haji Dukuray, 49
- Haja Dukureh, 37
- Mustapha Dukureh, 12
- Mariam Dukureh, 11
- Fatoumata Dukureh, 5
- Fatoumata Drammeh, 50
- Error mala Drammeh, 21
- Muhammed Drammeh, 12
- Nyumaaisha Drammeh, 19
- Omar Janbang, 6
- Fatoumata Tunkara, 43
- Isatou Jabbie, 31
- Hagi Jawara, 47
- Ousmane Konteh, 2