Papa Kante is now a widower trying to make sense of an early morning fire inside his home on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.
His wife, 37-year-old Adianatou-Nene Korouma, couldn’t make it out of their apartment building.
“She said she cannot get out and there was too much smoke, that was the problem,” explained an emotional Kante.
His wife, affectionately called Nene by friends and family, moved to Harlem to be with Kante from their native Mali in 2016.
Just 20 days ago she gave birth to their second child, a baby boy.
The newborn’s four-year-old sister Aicha had to be resuscitated by paramedics.
Both were rushed to the hospital with serious injuries, but thankfully are expected to recover.
Kante says he can’t even being to think of caring for them without his wife.
“She is a lovely wife and I am going to miss her for so long,” said Kante.
Kante was not home when the flames broke out just before 2 a.m. Friday morning, but he made the 911 call.
The blaze started in a third-floor apartment, right below where Kante’s family lived.
His wife and kids, along with five others, were taken to the hospital.
His neighbor, an 81-year-old music teacher, was also killed.
The FDNY said the fire door to the apartment had been left open. If closed, it would have minimized the heavy smoke conditions and could have saved lives.
“It is a very simple thing to do. When you do have a fire in your apartment, when you leave close the door behind you and give your neighbors a chance,” explained FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but arson has been ruled out.
Two firefighters were injured, but are expected to be OK, as are the six other residents who were rescued and taken to the hospital.
Four families were displaced by the fire, and the American Red Cross was notified, the department said.