Monday, January 9, 2023, marked the first anniversary of the deadly Bronx fire that occurred in the Twin Parks building in 2022. The devastating fire resulted in a painful tragedy that claimed 17 lives, eight of them children. An entire family of five died as a result of the fire. Twin Parks was home to a significant number of West African immigrants, most of them Muslim and from Gambia.
To mark the anniversary of the Bronx fire and pay respect to the victims, a vigil attended by survivors and public figures was held at the building. The vigil was also used as an opportunity to rename the street on which the building is found to 17 Abdoulie Touray Way. 17 for the people who lost their lives and Abdoulie Touray for the first West African immigrant to reside in the building.
Statement from Bronx Borough President Gibson about the Bronx Fire
Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson spoke at the vigil. “We recognize those lives on this day one year later,” Gibson said. “January 9, 2022, a day that we will forever remember [as] a dark day in the history of our community, of our borough, of our city, and of our state.”
“We have found purpose from our pain,” Gibson said. “We have found strength within the storm. We may be damaged, but we are not destroyed. We may be bruised, but we are not broken. We are a strong community.”
Mayor Eric Adams attended a service at the Masjid-Ur-Rahmah Mosque on Monday, January 9th. He released a statement on the anniversary of the Bronx fire and ordered that all flags in the city be lowered to half-staff. “One year ago, a devastating fire took the lives of 17 people in the Bronx at the Twin Parks apartment complex. On that day, our city lost 17 of our neighbors and friends — they were our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, our children and spouses,” said Mayor Adams. “Since that day, our city has passed critical legislation to educate and protect New Yorkers from fires to help prevent another tragedy. Today, we honor and remember the lives lost.”
Survivor Speaks about the Bronx Fire
Wanda Brown was and still is a tenant of the building. She lives in an apartment next to one in which her neighbors, a family, perished. “The family that lived next to me passed away — those were my neighbors,” said Brown. “Every day I have to pass their door to get to my door. That’s the tragic part because I always have to pass the door.”
“Sometimes when I walk by, I can’t even look at it,” she added.
LittleAfrica News reported on the Bronx fire. The fire was sparked by a space heater in an apartment and its effects were made worse by the fact that the self-closing door malfunctioned and did not close, allowing the fire to spread throughout the building. According to a report from the fire department, two stairwell doors were also open, causing the smoke to spread throughout the building as well. The fire led to the amendment of the U.S. Fire Administration Act, which will give federal fire investigators the authority to fully investigate the causes of fires. The amendment would also give the authority for fire authorities to identify buildings with the same issues and make recommendations. New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said the Bronx fire was the result of the lack of proper affordable housing and if the problems were not addressed, a similar disaster would occur.