Bronx fire dad’s anguish: I pushed door so far open saving my daughter, it stuck

Bronx fire dad’s anguish: I pushed door so far open saving my daughter, it stuck

By Reuven Fenton

The dad in the Bronx apartment where Sunday’s deadly blaze began acknowledged to The Post on Monday that he apparently pushed the front door back so far trying to save his daughter that it got stuck.

Stricken Mamadou Wague, 47, said he didn’t even realize the door was left open until he was told about it by fire officials later.

Authorities said earlier Monday that the apartment door was supposed to be self-closing but may have “malfunctioned,’’ sending smoke soaring through the 19-story structure and killing at least 17 people.

“When you push the door all the way to the edge, it didn’t close by itself,” said Wague, 47, who was in the apartment with his wife and eight kids when the fire started.

“It’s very sad. I don’t even remember the door staying open because all I could think about was getting everybody out,” the dad said.

“I actually thought later that the door had shut, but the Fire Department people told me it had stayed open.

“I feel very, very sorry for the people who died,” he said. “I’m praying for them. I’m praying for everybody.”

Wague, a native of The Gambia, said he was asleep shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday when his children’s screams woke him up after their electric space heater apparently sparked the blaze.

A look inside the apartment where the fatal blaze started.
A look inside the apartment where the fatal blaze started.
Mamadou Wague
Mamadou Wague shares his grief for the families impacted by the fire.
AP

“I heard my kids screaming, ‘Fire! Fire! in their room,” he said. “I just got up and ran back there. I told them, ‘Everybody get out!’ And everybody got out.

“When we were downstairs, I was told my daughter Nafisha was still in her bed, so I ran back up. There was fire everywhere, on the mattress, on my daughter. She had burns on her right side.

“When there’s so much smoke and fire, all you can think is, ‘If I don’t get out of here, I will die,’ ” he said.

“I went back for my daughter,” the dad said. “I could only think about getting her out, getting her safe. I burned my face to get her out, and I didn’t even feel it until much later.”

He said his daughter and wife remained in the hospital Monday.

A look at the charred hallway outside the apartment where the fire started.
A look at the charred hallway outside the apartment where the fire started.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams
Mayor Eric Adams spoke during a news conference outside the city’s deadliest fire in three decades.
Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

Wague said he agrees with Mayor Eric Adams, who urged residents in similar situations to close doors behind them to contain the flames and smoke.

“I agree exactly with what the mayor said,” the father said. “Close the door. If there’s a fire, close the door so the smoke doesn’t get out.”

Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro
The open apartment door sent smoke through the 19-story apartment, killing at least 17 people.
REUTERS

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Monday that the flames from the blaze were largely contained to the area around Wague’s apartment — but that deadly smoke spewing through the open door spread throughout the high-rise.

The fire killed at least eight kids and nine adults and left more than 60 others injured, officials said.

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https://nypost.com/2022/01/10/bronx-fire-dads-anguish-i-pushed-door-so-far-open-saving-my-daughter-it-stuck/

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