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A Family Tried to Flee the Bronx Fire. Smoke Overwhelmed Them.

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The doors are supposed to close by themselves, and the investigation was continuing into what might have happened. Mr. Nigro said that trying to flee from a high floor during a fire was itself risky.

“We do recommend in high-rise fireproof buildings that people should shelter in place, and it’s safer to be in your apartment than to venture out and try to get down the stairs and sometimes into a much more dangerous situation,” Mr. Nigro said.

Mayor Eric Adams and other officials said they would focus on reminding the public to close doors when fires break out, to contain deadly smoke.

Authorities had not yet officially released the names of any of the victims. The medical examiner’s office was still working to identify victims and to notify next-of-kin on Monday, and the identifications were being conducted by video because of concern over the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

“We are working with great care and sensitivity to identify the victims, determine causes and manners of death, and help the grieving families expedite arrangements for their loved ones in accordance with beliefs and customs,” Dr. Jason Graham, the acting chief medical examiner, said in a statement.

At Masjid-Ur-Rahmah, a storefront mosque near the building that serves a largely Gambian population, the imam, Musa Kabba, said that 10 to 12 of his members were missing. He expressed concern that the pace of the identification efforts was interfering with the Muslim obligation to bury the dead as quickly as possible.

The Gambian ambassador, Dawda Docka Fadera, traveled from Washington and appeared at the news conference with the mayor and other officials. He said that the majority of the victims were from his country, which has a population of less than two million people, and that the tragedy had reverberated there.

“We are all related, everybody knows everybody,” he said. “Our country is currently in a state of shock.”

The three Dukuray children were pronounced dead at hospitals on Sunday, and their parents were still missing as of Monday afternoon, leading relatives to believe that they too had perished in the worst fire in the city in decades, Hawa Dukuray said in an interview.

She said she wished she could tell them not to leave their apartment but said that she would have done the same in their shoes.

On Sunday, Hassane Badr, 28, who is originally from Mali, said that two of his siblings were also among the children who died in the fire, and that a 25-year-old cousin remained missing. As he waited for news about two other siblings, who had been injured, he said he was in shock.

“To be honest, I’m not believing it right now,” he said.

Sarah Maslin Nir, Ashley Southall, Liam Stack Anne Barnard and Ana Ley contributed reporting. Susan Beachy contributed research.

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