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Bronx High-Rise Fire: Local Officials Introduce Federal Safety Regulations In Wake Of Deadly Blaze

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Bronx community continued to mourn the victims of the deadly high-rise fire Friday.

Mayor Eric Adams prayed with families and local leaders proposed changes to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again, CBS2's Jessica Moore reported.

"I cannot feel the pain of people by remaining in City Hall," Adams said.

The mayor arrived at Masjid Ur-Rahmah mosque for a private prayer for the 17 killed inside the Twin Parks North West high-rise.

"What did it mean for you today to have Mayor Adams come in and pray with you?" Moore asked Haji Dukuray, who lost five family members in the fire.

"It meant the world to us. He didn't come across as the mayor of New York City. He came across as family to us," Dukuray said.

The fire, caused by a malfunctioning space heater inside a second-floor apartment, sent smoke billowing up 19 stories. Panicked residents desperately tried to escape, but the smoke was overwhelming.

Seventeen people died, including eight children.

"New York City's worst fires in the past 30 years have all been in the Bronx, and that is not an accident," said U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres. "That is a consequence of a chronically neglected and underfunded housing stock here in the Bronx."

Rep. Torres 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've been contained and countless lives would've been saved. Something as simple as a self-closing door can prevent mass casualties in a fire," Torres said.

Leaders also want to establish real-time monitoring of heating conditions in buildings.

"There can be no fire safety without housing quality," said Torres.

The surviving residents are staying at hotels, which are paid for through January 24. They can return, but don't have to, once the apartments are deemed safe.

"They are traumatized and they no longer want to live here. So we have committed to accommodate every household that wants to permanently relocate elsewhere in the Bronx," said Borough President Vanessa Gibson.

Two children killed in the fire were laid to rest this week. The remaining 15 victims will be buried once  international family members arrive. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer's office is helping expedite visas.

Funeral services for the 17 victims are being paid for through the Mayor's Fund.

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