A funeral will be held Sunday for 15 of the 17 victims of last weekend's deadly apartment building fire in the Bronx. 

What You Need To Know

  • Funeral services set to begin at 10 a.m. Sunday at Islamic Cultural Center in the Concourse section of the Bronx

  • Outdoor tents set up along East 166 Street with street closures in place in anticipation of a large turnout

  • Fifteen of the 17 victims of last Sunday’s fire in Fordham Heights will be remembered

  • A funeral was held Wednesday for two young victims who were siblings

“It’s important to go,” said Mahamed Keita of Fordham Heights. “Everybody should go to pay their respects. I encourage everybody to go!” 

For Keita, who was hospitalized last Sunday, after inhaling toxic smoke that spread to all 19 floors at Twins Park North West, permanent housing and other aspects about his future remain unclear. 

But what Keita knows for sure is that he will be at the Islamic Cultural Center of the Bronx Sunday morning in the Concourse section of the borough to pay his respects to more than a dozen fellow tenants and neighbors who lost their lives nearly a week ago due to smoke inhalation.

“Bodies, right in front of you,” Keita said. “It’s too much. It’s going to be chaos there tomorrow! People are going to be emotional. It’s going to be too much to take in.“

The NYPD has put barriers in place, cleared cars from the street and secured the area surrounding the Islamic Cultural Center in order to fit all the people who are expected to pay their respects to victims of last Sunday’s horrific apartment fire in Fordham Heights.

When NY1 spoke to Keita, he had just retrieved clothing, his Xbox and some other items from his apartment on the 16th floor. He said the smell inside was still awful.

“I can’t believe this,” Keita said. “I saw people going back in. There are people already moved in. There’s smoke smell everywhere. They said the building is good now to move in. I couldn’t even breathe inside right now.”

Police say nine adults and eight children died of smoke inhalation after a fire was started by a space heater that malfunctioned just before 11 a.m. last Sunday.  

Officials said smoke from that fire traveled out of the duplex apartment, where it originated. They said heavy smoke was able to spread to all 19 floors of the building due to two malfunctioning doors that failed to close automatically. 

Several imams have confirmed to NY1 the funeral prayers will get underway around 10 a.m. Sunday to honor 15 of the 17 victims who have not yet had a funeral and who all had ties to Gambia.

Mayor Eric Adams and other elected officials are expected to attend.

This past Wednesday, funerals began with a service at a Harlem mosque for two siblings who were just 5 and 12 years old. 

Sunday’s program at the Islamic Cultural Center is expected to conclude around noon, at which point, most of those who lost their lives will be laid to rest in New Jersey. Some of the victims are expected to be flown to Gambia for burial.