Rapper Cardi B has offered to pay the funeral costs for all 17 people who died from smoke inhalation in a high-rise apartment building fire in The Bronx.
The Bronx native has pledged to support funeral expenses, including repatriation for several victims to be buried in the Gambia, through a relief fund established by the New York City mayor’s office.
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“I’m extremely proud to be from the Bronx and I have lots of family and friends who live and work there still. So, when I heard about the fire and all of the victims, I knew I needed to do something to help,” Cardi B said in a statement on 19 January.
“I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish that the families of the victims are experiencing, but I hope that not having to worry about the costs associated with burying their loved ones will help as they move forward and heal,” she said. “I send my prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this horrific tragedy.”
The Bronx Fire Relief Fund has raised more than $2.5m in the wake of the fire, according to Mayor Eric Adams.
“We are grateful for Cardi B, a real superstar on and off the mic, for granting some critical financial relief to families of the victims,” the mayor said in a statement. “The city will be forever thankful to her and also to the grassroots donors and corporate partners who have been able to offer immediate support for our neighbors in need, to reestablish themselves during this difficult time.”
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On 9 January, smoke from a fire that started with a malfunctioning portable electric heater killed 17 people, including eight children, in a 19-story apartment building in the New York City borough.
Deadly smoke quickly poured from a two-story apartment through a broken door into the building’s internal stairwell, where smoke was able to spread.
The fire – which impacted a community of predominantly lower-income residents, African immigrants, and residents relying on Section 8 vouchers, a government programme to help subsidise the costs of housing – also displaced dozens of people.
It was the city’s most lethal fire since 1990, when 87 people died in an arson attack on a nightclub in the same borough.
Funds from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City will support impacted households with $2,20 in immediate financial relief.
Photo Credit: Getty