Cardi B pledges to pay for funerals of 17 victims of devastating high-rise fire

Josh Milton January 19, 2022
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Headshot of Cardi B on the red carpet

Cardi B. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Cardi B has pledged to pay for the funerals of the 17 victims who lost their lives after a devastating fire tore through a New York apartment building.

On 9 January, a malfunctioning space heater on the third floor set off a fire that left possessions charred, stairwells blackened and thick smoke roaring up through the Bronx high-rise in what officials said was the deadliest blaze in more than three decades.

Nineteen people died in the fire and chaos that consumed the complex on East 181st Street in the Fordham Heights neighbourhood. The youngest was two years old.

Cardi B, the rapturous rapper known off-stage as Belcalis Almánzar and herself a Bronx native, has offered to pay for 17 burials, New York Mayor Eric Adams announced Wednesday (19 January).

Cardi B: I knew I needed to do something to help’

According to the Associated Press, the “WAP” singer has committed to paying the repatriation costs for the victims. Some of the working-class families, some of whom relied on subsidies housing vouchers, had tied to Gambia.

She has partnered up with The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to ensure that the “final wishes for [the victims’] loved ones are met” by burying them in the West African nation.

Emergency first responders remain at the scene after an intense fire at a 19-story residential building that erupted in the morning on January 9, 2022. (Scott Heins/Getty Images)

“I’m extremely proud to be from the Bronx and I have lots of family and friends who live and work there still,” Cardi B in a statement to the news wire.

“So, when I heard about the fire and all of the victims, I knew I needed to do something to help.

“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.

“I send my prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this horrific tragedy.”

“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’s Office said in a statement.

Mayor Eric Adams. (Lev Radin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“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 neighbours in need, to reestablish themselves during this difficult time.”

At around 11:15am on 9 January, Fire Department paramedics rushed to the towering apartment building as flames crawled up the 19-stories.

At least 60 people were injured during the fire, including 32 with life-threatening injuries, which spilt out of the third floor after the occupants fled without closing the door behind them. Residents didn’t react initially, used to the repetitive alarm tests in the buildings.

It was the third-deadliest residential fire in the US since 1978, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

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