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All 17 Bronx fire victims identified; youngest was 2 years old

The New York Police Department identified Ousmane Konteh as the youngest victim of Sunday's blaze. Seven other children died.
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The youngest victim of the deadliest blaze New York City has seen in three decades was 2 years old, authorities said Wednesday.

The New York Police Department released the names and ages of all 17 people, including 2-year-old Ousmane Konteh and seven other children, who died after a fire broke out Sunday at an apartment building in the Bronx.

The remaining victims were identified as Haouwa Mahamadou, 5; Fatoumata Dukureh, 5; Mariam Dukureh, 11; Mustapha Dukureh, 12; Haja Dukureh, 37; Omar Jambang, 6; Seydou Toure, 12; Muhammed Drammeh, 12; Nyumaaisha Drammeh, 19; Foutmala Drammeh, 21; Fatoumata Drammeh, 50; Sera Janneh, 27; Isatou Jabbie, 31; Fatoumata Tunkara, 43; Hagi Jawara, 47; and Haji Dukary, 49.

From left, Haji Dukary, Haja Dukureh, Fatoumata Dukureh, Mustapha Dukureh, and Mariam Dukureh.
From left, Haji Dukary, Haja Dukureh, Fatoumata Dukureh, Mustapha Dukureh, and Mariam Dukureh.Obtained by NBC

All 17 died from smoke inhalation, the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday, while others were still in the hospital fighting for their lives.

Community leaders have said many of the residents living at the building were Muslims from Gambia.

While some of the victims had the same surnames, the NYPD did not say if any were related. The department did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

As new details emerged on those killed in Sunday's fire, the focus also turned to supporting the families of victims and others affected by the blaze as officials work to establish what went wrong to prevent future tragedies.

The crowdfunding website GoFundMe said it had verified fundraisers for the children of some of the victims.

According to one of the fundraising pages, Fatima Drammeh, 23, the daughter of Fatoumata Drammeh, had been at work when she heard that a fire had broken out at the Bronx apartment building.

A candlelight vigil Tuesday, two days after New York's deadliest fire in three decades.Yuki Iwamura / AP

A second fundraising page set up for the children of Jawara and Jabbie, two of the 17 confirmed victims, stated that “the kids are now orphans.”

Image: Firefighters hoist a ladder to rescue people through their windows after a fire broke out in the Bronx, N.Y., on Jan. 9, 2022.
Many of the building's residents were reported to be Muslims from Gambia.Theodore Parisienne / New York Daily News/TNS

New York City has also launched a fund with all proceeds going to supporting those affected by the blaze. 

Calling the blaze an "unspeakable tragedy" on Monday, Mayor Eric Adams said: "The city stands ready to give impacted families all the support they need — it’s what we do."

On Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James warned people to look out for potential scams in the wake of the fire.

“In moments of tragedy, New Yorkers are quick to offer time, money, and resources to those in need, but too often people take advantage of that kindness,” she said in a tweet.

“As we look to support those impacted by the Bronx fire, beware of sham charities,” she said, sharing a graphic with tips for giving, including taking time to research an organization and ensuring you know where your money will go and how it will be used.

Image: Firefighters respond to a fire in the Bronx, N.Y., on Jan. 9, 2022.
Fire officials say an electric space heater apparently started the fire on Sunday.New York Fire Department

As community members rally around victims' families and others affected by the fire, many surviving residents were fighting for their lives, according to NBC New York.

The New York City Fire Department said at least 35 people were still in the hospital with life-threatening injuries as of Tuesday, while another 37 were receiving treatment, but were expected to recover.

Fire officials said self-closing doors that were meant to keep smoke at bay in the event of a fire failed to work during the deadly blaze.

Image: Candlelight vigil
A candlelight vigil Tuesday. To some community activist, the fire highlights systemic issues of unequal access to basic utilities, like heat.Yuki Iwamura / AP

As investigators work to determine what went wrong, they are also looking into what caused an electric space heater to spark the fire in the first place, with some community leaders telling NBC News that the fire highlights systemic issues around inequality and access to basic utilities, including heat.

Speaking at a vigil outside the Bronx apartment building, James vowed to investigate those concerns, saying she would “use the law both as a sword and as a shield to get to the bottom of this fire,” according to the New York Post.

James’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.