FORDHAM HEIGHTS, N.Y. (WPIX) — Rap superstar Cardi B plans to help pay for the funeral and burial costs of the 17 people killed in a high-rise building fire in New York City earlier this month, it was announced Wednesday.
Partnering with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the Grammy Award-winning artist will pay for repatriation expenses, among other costs, for some victims buried in The Gambia through the nonprofit’s Bronx Fire Relief Fund.
“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,” Cardi B said in a statement.
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The nonprofit Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City collaborates with city agencies, institutional funders, and community-based organizations to “advance initiatives that improve the lives of New Yorkers,” according to its website.
Following the deadly fire on Jan. 9, the Mayor’s Fund set up the Bronx Fire Relief Fund to crowdsource donations. To date, it has raised more than $2.5 million to support those affected by the fire.
As a Bronx native, Cardi B said she felt compelled to do more to help the families devastated by the fire.
“I’m extremely proud to be from the Bronx and I have lots of family and friends who live and work there still. So, when I heard about the fire and all of the victims, I knew I needed to do something to help,” Cardi B said. “I send my prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this horrific tragedy.”
Mayor Eric Adams commended Cardi B for stepping up to help her community.
“The resilience of this city reflects everyday New Yorkers who never turn their back on one another,” Adams said in a statement on Wednesday. “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 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 neighbors in need, to reestablish themselves during this difficult time.”
The fire, the city’s deadliest in three decades, was sparked by a faulty space heater, according to authorities. Firefighters were called to the 19-story high-rise building in Fordham Heights, New York, about a fire on the third floor just before 11 a.m. on Jan. 9.
The door to the apartment where the flames broke out was left open, officials said. A second door left open in a stairwell higher up acted as a flue, sucking smoke upward and through the building.
Seventeen people, including eight children, were killed, and dozens of families were injured and left homeless. New York City’s chief medical examiner told NewsNation that smoke inhalation was the cause of death for all those killed.
PIX11’s Kristine Garcia and The Associated Press contributed to this report.