Victims of Bronx fire honored in memorial

Alongside flowers and candles are some of the photographs of the victims of the fire, a sign that reads “New York Strong,” and the flag of the Bronx. January 23, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

A memorial dedicated to the victims of an apartment fire that killed 17 and injured over a dozen is on display outside The Angelo Patri School which is next to Twin Parks North West, the high-rise apartment building that caught fire on Jan. 9 from a space heater on the third floor. This was considered the deadliest fire in New York City in the last 30 years. 

The memorial, decorated with colorful flowers, candles, and toys was accompanied by photographs of the men, women, and children who died from smoke inhalation. Flags of their native country Gambia were scattered throughout the memorial. The Bronx borough flag was also on display, representing the city that was their present home before their deaths.

Cristina Martinez of the Bronx came out in the cold with family members to see the memorial. Martinez lost two of her students in the fire.

“I found out while watching the news on TV,” Martinez said. “We were seeing what was going on and I immediately thought of my students. I just remember hoping I wouldn’t hear their names, but then I did.”

She walked along the sidewalk while looking at the large tribute, where she then recorded a video of it on her phone to show friends and family. 

Following suit, passersby continued admiring the memorial; the contrasting colors of the flowers that surrounded the photographs of the victims on a laminated piece of paper. The memorial provides a gathering space for the Bronx community to honor the lives of the 17 residents of 333 East 181st Street.

The high-rise apartment building, known as Twin Parks North West, that caught fire Jan 9. Many of the residents in this building were from Gambia and were a close-knit community. In front of the building was fire investigation. January 23, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

Cristina Martinez of the Bronx records a video of the memorial as her family stands behind her. January 23, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

Two passersby visit the memorial and talk amongt themselves about those they recognize. January 23, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

Haouwa Mahamadou, or as the poster reads, Hawa Toure. She was just five years old when her and her older brother Seydou lost their lives. January 23, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

A photograph of Isatou Jabbie, 31. Jabbie and her husband, Hagi Jawara both died on Jan. 9. January 23, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

A poster that reads “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed, we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we are returning.’ [The Noble Qur’an, 2:155-156].” January 30, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

A teddy bear was placed on the ledge of the memorial. January 23, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris