A man who lost five relatives in the Bronx apartment fire is calling Cardi B an “angel” following her announcement on Wednesday that she’s paying for the funeral and burial costs for the victims in collaboration with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.
“Cardi B, you are an angel,” Haji Dukuray told TMZ in the video above. “I can’t thank you enough—my family cannot thank you enough for what you’ve done. I don’t know you. I’m sure you’ve never heard of my family. For you to step up and do what you did for us at this time, all I can do is pray to Allah for you. Give you all your wishes and grant you everything in this world.”
He said he initially didn’t know it was the Bronx rapper who pledged to cover the expenses. “I can’t even imagine, I mean, I have five family members that I’m planning to bury. And the financial aspect, we all know how expensive that could be. For me not to worry about the cost at all was a huge, huge help, and a huge relief for my family,” he added.
Dukuray’s 37-year-old niece Haja died in the fire, as did her 49-year-old husband Haji and their children, 12-year-old Mustapha, 11-year-old Miriam, and 5-year-old Fatoumata. According to the outlet, Dukuray would often make the 200-mile drive to the Bronx from his home in Delaware to see his family members. The Dukurays lost more family members than any other single family.
The New York Times reports that Haja first moved into the building around 15 years ago when she emigrated from Gambia. Haja had a job as a home health aide and Haji worked at a fried chicken shop. Their children were born in the U.S., and they lived on the 19th floor, where they often hosted relatives for Ramadan.
“The kids were always fun and joy to be around,” Haja’s uncle Haji told PIX11. “They were actually the center of their life.”
The other 12 victims, per the Times piece detailing their lives, were Ousmane Konteh, age 2, Omar Jambang, 6, and Fatoumata Tunkara, 43; Sera Janneh, 27; Seydou Toure, 12 and Haouwa Mahamadou, 5; Isatou Jabbie, 31, and Hagi Jawara, 47; as well as four members of the Drammeh family—Muhammed, 12 Fatoumata, 50, Fatoumala, 21, and 19-year-old Nyumaaisha.
When asked about Cardi ’s announcement, Jim Jones told TMZ, “I wouldn’t expect nothing less of Cardi B. Cardi B is an extremely incredible individual—she knows about starting from the bottom and going to the top. She has a lot of love in her heart.”
The Bronx fire claimed the lives of nine adults and eight children, in what’s now known as the deadliest fire in New York City in over 30 years.