Bronx fire kills 10
NEW YORK – A 7-year-old girl lost her two-day battle for life, becoming the 10th victim of a devastating Bronx fire that also killed all her siblings and her mother.Asimi Soumare died late Friday, as the bodies of other victims were being prepared for their funeral Monday: Asimi’s twin baby sisters, 4-year-old brother and mother, as well as five others – children of Manthia and Moussa Magassa who shared the three-story brick home with the Soumare family.Mamadou Soumare, a taxi driver who received a frantic call from his doomed wife on the night of the fire, has now lost his spouse and all of their children.”I don’t know what I’m going to do. I love my wife,” Soumare said hours after the death of 42-year-old Fatoumata, 4-year-old Djibril and the 7-month-old twins, Sise and Harouna.The last time Samoure heard his wife’s voice, she was screaming amid the fire Wednesday after frantically calling him on his cell phone while he was driving his livery cab.Naralee Magassa, a 22-year-old member of the family, was asleep with her 5-year-old daughter when a space heater in the house’s garden-level apartment sparked the fire. She tried to douse it with pots of water before alerting anyone.As firefighters braved their way through the flames and thick smoke, some residents escaped, a few were rescued and two children were tossed out the window into the arms of neighbors below by another woman in the house. She then jumped, breaking her legs but surviving.Asimi’s death was attributed to complications due to smoke inhalation, said Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the city medical examiner. The blaze was New York City’s deadliest since 1990’s Happy Land fire, which killed 87 people in the Bronx.On Saturday morning at Francisco’s funeral home in East Harlem, the bodies of the dead were ritually washed and wrapped in white cotton in preparation for the Muslim funeral.The Magassa children were to be buried in Millstone, N.J., and Soumare’s family in their native Mali, in West Africa.New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has pledged to pay the funeral and burial expenses, including the cost of flying the bodies to Africa. The fire was a short walk from the location of a new Yankee Stadium now under construction.The woman who leaped out the window, Assia Magassa – Moussa’s 23-year-old second wife – was at Lincoln Medical Center on Saturday recovering from two broken legs. Their 5-year-old daughter, Hatouma, was in stable condition there, and three of their other children also survived.Another of Moussa’s children, a 6-year-old girl, remained in critical condition at Jacobi Medical Center.
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The operating license for Kent Funeral Home in Gypsum has been summarily suspended by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies following an investigation that revealed disturbing conditions at an associated funeral home in Leadville.