January 10 2022 Gambian Youth Organization along with multiple community members and local non-profit organizations have been working tirelessly on gathering and distributing of essential items for victims of the Bronx deadly fire that claimed the lives of 17 people on Sunday, January 9.
The deadly fire also displaced most of the other tenants, who a majority are from Gambia. We spoke with Bridget Bentley a community organizer for People’s Assembly.
“We are here to lend a helping hand and also to be volunteers but also to figure out what exactly is the need and how can we help them be of assistance? We brought PPE gear, there’s more trucks of food that we’re trying to bring the drop off. And we just wanted to know how can we be of a service in my neighborhood?
At the end of the day, the Bronx is what we got. We are the most disenfranchised borough at the moment right now. So it’s nothing for us to just come together as a group of people to help people in need and they need it now, it’s cold.
We just finished the holiday so I can only imagine, people lives is lost, you get what I’m saying. There’s now a shift in the neighborhood and we need to be here to assist them.” said Bentley a community organizer.
We also got a chance to speak with Momodou Sawandh, who founded the organization back in 2002.
“We are here, we are packing stuff. We are getting donations, masks, hand sanitizer, clothes, anything that is useful for the families and victims, we are collecting it.
We are collecting it to give to the families. You know as as needed. There’s a lot of stuff here, we take it it to the hotel, from there the family members will go and pick it up from the hotel because we don’t have direct access to the victims and the families.
View our center here, it’s full of clothes, as you can see. All kinds of assistance that people come up. This is tragic, it’s been the worst since 1990. There hasn’t been this many people, that died from this kind of fire. So we are urging everyone to come for help and assistance.”
Over 48 individuals remain in the hospital with critical injuries. FDNY determined that a faulty space heater was the cause of the fire and an open door to a unit is what caused the fire to spread. At least 8 children and 9 adults lost their lives as a result of the intense blaze.
According to City Officials, the early reported number of people killed in the Bronx fire was revised from 19 to 17, including 9 adults and 8 children, NYC mayor Adams confirms.
First responders deemed the blaze to be a 5-Alarm fire and a Mass Casualty Incident response was requested. Early reports suggested that only around 40 people may have been injured in the Bronx fire at 333 E 181st street.
Those numbers quickly climbed to upwards of 60 people injured, with 34 sustaining life-threatening injuries during the fire that broke out on the third floor of a 19 story apartment building in the Fordham Heights section of the Bronx.
At the Monroe College in the Bronx, Marc Jerome, President of Monroe College and Bronx Fire Survivor Paulane Pryan spoke to press.
Volunteers from restaurants around New York City prepared food and other donations for the residents displaced following the tragedy.
Fire officials said around 200 firefighters responded to the scene of the fatal fire and investigators are looking reports from residents that smoke alarms went off frequently and without cause.
If you or some one you know was affected by the fire, Text “181STFIRE” to 692692 to receive updates about resources and services available.
Si se vio afectado por el incendio envié un mensaje de texto con “181STFIRE” al 692692 para recibir información actualizada de recursos
Video by Daniel Valls and our team of Journalists (FNTV freedomnews.tv)