Bronx, NY

Father Rescues Eight Children From the Blazing Inferno in Bronx

Andrei Tapalaga
The Wague family's apartment is seen completely destroyedDaily Mail

On January the 9th an apartment within the Twin Parks North West building in Bronx had caught fire due to a space heater that malfunctioned and produced sparks which started a fire. It had been stated later to the investigators that the space heater had been running non-stop for days without being shut off. 

Within the unlucky event, 19 people have died. The fire started on Sunday at around 11 A.M. The faulty space heater started the fire on the third floor and from there the fire moved to the upper floors. It was very difficult for those on the top floors to escape as the stairwell was engulfed in smoke, making it impossible to see anything. 

From all this mess a hero rose up, Mamadou Wague who lived on the third floor. Within the duplex, he lived with his wife and eight children. One of the kids said, ‘Oh, Daddy! Daddy! There’s a fire!’” he said. “I get up and there’s smoke in the kids’ rooms.”

Upon seeing the fire he went from door to door to warn all of his neighbors. The fire was extending quick and the smoke thickened, making it quite difficult to see who was on their way to escape and who was still in the building as stated by Mamadou’s oldest son, Hame Wague: 

In the hallway, thick smoke made a blur of passing neighbors. “It was dark,” said Mr. Wague’s son, Hame Wague, 16. “We were all coughing.”

Mamadou rushed his family out of the building to safety and started counting to see if he got all the children. In the heat of the moment, he didn’t realize that he had forgotten his 8-year-old daughter named Nafisha who was hiding under a mattress. When Mamadou reached her room the top of the mattress was on fire. Once he got her out from beneath the mattress they both rushed out of the building. 

Mamadou didn’t realize that he had suffered burns on his face whilst trying to turn the mattress that was already in flames. All he cared about was to get his family to safety. I didn’t think about anything except getting her out,” he said. Sadly some of the tenants from the top floors weren’t so lucky, especially the elderly who didn’t make it out in time. 

One of the main problems was the fire alarm within the building that would regularly go off despite there being no fire. The residence of the building got used to it, so when the fire alarm went off from the fire most of the residents ignored it

One of the New York officials had stated that many of the people that had been rescued by the New York fire department are now in hospitals fighting for their lives. 

“There are many people fighting for their lives in the hospital,”

Another issue that was reported by New York officials is that the door to the apartment where the fire broke out was not functioning. The city law states that self-closing doors are required to be installed in all apartment buildings with three or more apartments in order to avoid a potential fire from spreading, just like in this case. 

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