Hundreds of people attended a mass funeral Sunday for fifteen of the seventeen victims of the Bronx apartment building fire on Jan. 9, The Associated Press reported.
The ceremony filled the Islamic Cultural Center, while other mourners looked through the mosque’s windows and watching on big-screen televisions outside.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (D), joined two Gambian officials who attended the service.
“When tragedies occur, we come together,” Schumer said in a statement.
The mass funeral followed a week of prayers and mourning within the small community of Gambian migrants, according to the AP. Eleven of the victims were from the West African country.
Haji Dukuray, the uncle of victim Haja Dukuray, who died along with her three children, called the tragedy a “sad situation,” the AP reported.
“This is a sad situation. But everything comes from God. Tragedies always happen, we just thank Allah that we can all come together,” Durkuray said.
Speaking at the funeral, New York Attorney General Letitia James said those held responsible for the tragedy will be held accountable, the Washington Post reported.
“No individuals should have to have space heaters. No individuals should have doors that do not close,” James said at the funeral. “There were conditions in that building that should have been corrected. There were conditions in that building that should have been inspected.”
The fire was reportedly sparked by a faulty space heater and spread through an open door, ripping through the 120-unit complex and killing seventeen residents, including eight children. A funeral for two of the children was held earlier this week.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Sunday the state will distribute $2 million in aid to help families recovering from the tragedy fix property damage or find new places to live, according to the AP.
The Mayor’s fund, Bank of America, and other participating groups said the 118 families displaced by the fire will get $2,250 each in aid, the AP noted.