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2-year-old was youngest victim of Bronx apartment fire, officials say

All 17 victims of the catastrophic fire that swept through an apartment complex in the Bronx on Sunday have now been identified by officials, CBS New York reports. The youngest victim of the blaze was 2-year-old Ousmane Konteh. Eight children were among the dead.

Officials have said a malfunctioning space heater in a two-story unit on the second and third floors of the residential high-rise likely started the fire — and because the apartment door did not close when the residents fled, smoke spread throughout the 120-unit building. 

"Black, black smoke. I could barely see from me to you," one of the residents told CBS News outside the building. Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said first responders "found victims on every floor in stairwells and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest."

The medical examiner said Tuesday that all 17 victims died of smoke inhalation. 

Fatal Bronx Fire
At least 17 people, including eight children, were killed after a five-alarm fire in a residential high-rise building in the Bronx on Sunday, New York officials said. Theodore Parisienne/NY Daily News via Getty Images

It's not yet clear why the door didn't close on its own, as required by city law. Nigro said the door was "so deformed from the heavy fire that our marshals are having very great difficulty determining exactly why it wouldn't close," according to CBS New York. 

A couple who survived the fire has filed a lawsuit over the deadly blaze, alleging that building owners failed to ensure apartment doors would close on their own, CBS New York reported. 

A candlelight prayer vigil was held outside the building on Tuesday night to honor the victims. New York Attorney General Letitia James, who attended the vigil, told the crowd, "This is not the time to question your faith. This is the time that we should all gather here and recognize that we praise a good God." 

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