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Many Gambians feared dead in New York fire

Many Gambians feared dead in New York fire

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Numerous sources in The Gambia and America have claimed that many Gambians are feared to be among the so-far unidentified 19 people, nine of them children who died in a “horrific” apartment-complex fire in the Bronx, New York City on Sunday. Dozens more are hospitalized in critical conditions. Newly-elected Mayor Eric Adams said many of those who lived in the building are Muslim immigrants from Gambia. 

He described the fire as “a horrific, horrific, painful moment.”

“The impact of this fire is going to really bring a level of pain and despair in this city,” Adams told the press. “This is going to be one of the worst fires we have witnessed in the city of New York in modern times.”

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Adams said that individuals affected by the fire, who request government aid, will not be turned over to immigration officials, regardless of their residency status.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a press conference Sunday night that the fire was caused by a malfunctioning electric space heater in a residence that spanned two floors of the apartment complex. When those living in the apartment fled, they left the doors open, allowing smoke from the blaze to escape throughout the building. New York passed a law requiring large apartment buildings to have self-closing doors following an earlier deadly fire in the Bronx; it wasn’t immediately clear how the door was able to remain open Sunday.

“The door to that apartment — unfortunately when the residents left — was left open; it did not close by itself,” Nigro said. “The smoke spread throughout the building, thus the tremendous loss of life and people fighting for their lives right now in hospitals all over the Bronx.”

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The Standard contacted a senior Gambia government official who said as of last night, about four people are confirmed to be Gambians while lots of other Gambians known to be living in the building are missing.

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