NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — We now know the identities of all 17 people killed in the Bronx high-rise fire.
The youngest was just 2 years old. The oldest was a 50-year-old mother.
- 31-year-old Isatou Jabbie
- 47-year-old Hagi Jawara
- 2-year-old Ousmane Konteh
- 27-year-old Sera Janneh
- 12-year-old Seydou Toure
- 5-year-old Haouwa Mahamadou
- 49-year-old Haji Dukary
- 37-year-old Haja Dukureh
- 12-year-old Mustapha Dukureh
- 11-year-old Mariam Dukureh
- 5-year-old Fatoumata Dukureh
- 50-year-old Fatoumata Drammeh
- 21-year-old Foutmala Drammeh
- 12-year-old Muhammed Drammeh
- 19-year-old Nyumaaisha Drammeh
- 6-year-old Omar Jambang
- 43-year-old Fatoumata Tunkara
Their heartbroken families are now beginning the emotional task of planning funerals and honoring their lives.
Some losses are so painful, even the most faithful question why.
Inside Masjid Ar-Rahama mosque on Webster Avenue, Ishak Drammeh is hoping to find that answer through prayer, grieving the loss of his wife, two daughters, and son.
“As soon as they called me and tell me the building catch fire, I was like somewhere between heaven and sky, like my foot wasn’t even in the ground,” Drammeh said.
Drammeh said he was working in Ohio on Sunday when he learned his family’s high-rise was on fire. He rushed to take the first bus back, only to be met with crushing news.
His 21-year-old daughter, Fatoumala, was about to graduate from University of Buffalo. His 19-year-old daughter, Nyumaaisha, worked as a nurse. His youngest boy, Muhammed, had just turned 12.
“I love you all. I miss you all. And I hope soon they will be in heaven,” Drammeh said.
Watch: Christina Fan’s 5 p.m. Report On The Deadly Bronx High-Rise Fire
A few floors above the Drammehs, the entire Dukureh family of five was also killed by the suffocating smoke. Family members said Haja and Haji Dukureh were the most loving parents to three beautiful children.
“They were so young and they were so good. It’s like the Lord Allah only takes the good ones away — the great mother, the great father, the great kids,” uncle Haji Dukuray said.
The families were not alone in their heartbreak. Imam Musa Kabba said all the victims were followers of the Muslim faith and frequented the mosque. He said he is trying to guide shattered families through the unimaginable hurt.
“I’m trying to do best with the help of Allah, my God,” Kabba said.
Tijan Janneh was also among the many seeking solace through prayer at the mosque.
One of his daughters, Sera, died in the fire. His other 19-year-old daughter is at the hospital fighting for her life.
“The doctors told us it’s critical, but they would make sure it was 50%,” Tijan Janneh said.
He says the family got separated in the smoke.
For Breanna Elleston, the thought of Sera, her best friend, trying to escape her Bronx apartment building, struggling and scared, is painful.READ MORE: Bronx High-Rise Fire: Some City Residents Say They Have No Choice But To Use Space Heaters On Brutally Cold Days
“I don’t know what I’m going to do without her,” Elleston told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
The 27-year-olds have been close since high school.
“She was my best friend. I was her best friend. We do everything together,” Elleston saiad.
She says Sera was always putting others first, so it’s fitting she was studying psychology at Lehman College, hoping to have a career helping people.
“Just a very kind, loving, supportive person,” Elleston said.
It was impossible for her to hold back emotions imagining life without Sera.
“I just wish I told her that I loved her. We don’t tell each other that enough,” she said.
Watch: Kevin Rincon’s 6 p.m. Report On The Deadly Bronx High-Rise Fire
As family, friends, and total strangers gathered, they were met with the generosity of a community that has continued to make donations, CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reported.
“The support that we’re getting from everybody, the wishes, the condolences and the prayers, that’s really what’s keeping us strong,” Dukuray said.
The smoke that shot up through the stairwell claimed the lives of eight children in all. Among them, Omar Jambang, who was 6. Waasa Touray knew him and his father well.
“I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep. It’s so sad,” Touray said.
That boy’s mother, Fatoumata Tunkara, also died. She was like a mother to her cousin, Ansumana Susso.
“My heart is broken completely because I haven’t spoken to her in a while because of my work schedule and everything. So I didn’t get to say goodbye, so that hurts my feelings,” Susso said.
Back at the Fordham Heights high-rise, windows were being boarded up and families were deciding if they want to go back. Yesbely Fernandez made a few stops at the site to gather her belongings, but said she can’t live there, not anymore having known so many of the victims.
“I see them all the time. We’re running into each other in the elevator, ‘Good morning, how are you? Good evening. Good night.’ It’s a family you see all the time,” Fernandez said.
CLICK HERE for more information on how to helpMORE NEWS: Drop-Off Sites Across New York City Overflowing With Donations For Bronx High-Rise Fire Victims
CBS2’s Christina Fan and Kevin Rincon contributed to this report. Editor’s note: This story first appeared on Jan. 12.