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Bronx High-Rise Victims Remembered With Public Funeral, Officials Pledge To Keep Up Support For Survivors

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A funeral prayer service was held Sunday for 15 of the victims killed in the Bronx high-rise fire.

As CBS2's Leah Mishkin reports, the Islamic Cultural Center in Concourse was filled to capacity. Outside, people packed into a tent and stood on the streets, there to support the victims' families.

Imam Musa Kaba read out the names of the 17 people, including eight children, who died at the high-rise on East 181st Street a week ago. All of them were Muslim immigrants from West Africa. Two young children were already laid to rest earlier this week.

The FDNY determined the cause of the fire to be a malfunctioning space heater.

"Had these people lived in Midtown, Manhattan, we would not have the funeral. They would not need space heaters. The condition in which they lived caused their deaths," Sheikh Musa Drammneh said.

Drammneh demanded better.

"Two-year-olds should not be dying in 2022 in the Bronx because of a dilapidated home ... The Bronx is part of New York City, but it has not been regarded as such. We are number one for everything bad and last for every desirable human endeavor," he said. "We are here because we live in the Bronx. People are dying because they live in the Bronx. We hold these funerals because we live in the Bronx. They will never ever achieve their American dream because they lived in the Bronx. Their asperations will never ever be fulfilled because they lived in the Bronx. Their families will never ever see them again, because they lived in the Bronx."

WATCH: Public Funeral Held For Bronx Fire Victims --

Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Mayor Eric AdamsAttorney General Letitia James, Congressman Ritchie Torres and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Comptroller Brad Lander, Congressman Adriano Espaillat and Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson were among the speakers.

"What is happening here in the Bronx is what's happening here across our city in communities where Black, brown and immigrant people are. It's time to end those inequalities," Adams said.

At one point, the families of the victims were asked to stand.

"Husband remains, wife and three children gone. One father is here, his one son is gone," Kaba said.

Several organizations stood by outside the center to offer support to the crowd, such ass COVID supplies and food.

Local leaders have said their fight for victims will continue long after the funeral. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $2 million in assistance for displaced tenants Sunday.

"All those affected are part of our New York State family, and we will help give them the support they need to recover. I want those impacted to know that we will not forget you, we will not abandon you, we are here for you," she said in a statement.

"To join alongside of the resources that are happening elsewhere to make sure we are playing our part," Benjamin said.

"These coffins and the lives they represent and the families they represent wrenched the heart of all New Yorkers," Schumer said.

Torres also wants Congress to pass a law requiring all space heaters be equipped with automatic shutoffs, and all federally funded buildings be outfitted with self-closing doors.

"We know if the self-closing doors had been functioning properly, the spread of the smoke would have been contained," Torres said.

All of the residents are currently staying at hotels, which are paid for through January 24. Once apartments are deemed safe, residents can return but they don't have.

CBS2's Leah Mishkin contributed to this report.

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