NEW YORK — Wednesday, Feb. 9 marks one month since a fire at a Bronx residential complex killed 17 people.
The fire initially displaced hundreds of people in the 120-unit building, but within days, some families started to move back.
Adam Dukureh, the uncle of five of the victims, said his faith keeps him going. He doesn’t live in the building, so he hasn’t had to return to scene of so much loss.
What You Need To Know
- The management company at the Twin Parks North West building said roughly 70% of its tenants are choosing to relocate to other affordable housing it found
- About 40 residents have returned to the complex, but some are still staying at a nearby hotel. The city is paying the tab until March 8
- A $3 billion class action lawsuit was filed against the city and the management company on behalf of tenants
“There would be so much crying. For me, no problem. But five people going together, I’ve never seen it,” Dukureh said.
In the last month, about 40 residents have returned to the complex, but some are still staying at a nearby hotel. The city is paying the tab until March 8.
The management company at the Twin Parks North West building said roughly 70% of its tenants are choosing to relocate to other affordable housing it found.
Nearly two dozen applications to move to the property are complete. The rest are pending for the move, which is a 15-minute drive from the apartment building.
“We trust in Allah. We know that anything that happens in this life would not happen without him," Imam Musa Kabba said. "He is behind everything."
Kabba leads the Masjid-Ur-Rahmah mosque that sits in the shadow of the 19-story residential building.
Fifteen of the people who died in the fire worshipped at the center. Kabba said he is still overwhelmed by the support from the city: $2.5 million from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is helping victims. Plus, donations poured in from the private sector.
“They all look at these poor families and say, 'You know what? Let’s stand up with them,'” Kabba said. Some of the victims, however, want to stand up for themselves in court.
A $3 billion class action lawsuit was filed against the city and the management company on behalf of tenants.
The allegation: a faulty space heater caused the blaze, but two fire safety doors were broken, allowing the smoke to spread throughout the building.
On Tuesday, five more lawsuits on behalf of victims’ families were filed, but despite the blame and the tragedy, Dukureh sees something positive through his pain: the support of the community.
“They help us a lot," Dukureh said. "They took us like we were family."
The imam said that embrace is what will live in him, and he wants everyone to know it.
“My message to the American people is that I will never forget about this," Kabba said. "I see help. I never thought they would do this for us. I pray to all my God to bless this country."