2007_03_bxfirepc.jpgToday, Mayor Bloomberg met with the Bronx fire victims' families and later held a press conference about the tragedy, which is the deadliest fire (aside from September 11) since 1990 . The Mayor has been under fire for leaving the city yesterday - after a Thursday press conference about the fire - for a scheduled appearance in Miami, where he made jokes about "Mayors Gone Wild" in South Beach.

In Miami, Mayor Bloomberg explained he wasn't a firefighter or doctor and wasn't needed in the Bronx (he was raising WTC Memorial funds and looking at sustainable building designs in Florida). City Councilman Leroy Comrie and Jose Rivera (both Democrats) agreed with that, while State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. called him insensitive.

During the press conference, the Mayor seemed to attempt to show his humanity, by saying, "As the father of two daughters myself, I really can imagine the pain and grief their loved ones are going through. A parent should never have to bury their children. It’s just not the logical order of things.”

As the families living in the 4-story house in the Highbridge section were Malian immigrants, the Mayor also invoked the American Dream: "The families and the 150 other people who were there, most of whom came to New York, came to the United States to pursue the great American Dream and now find themselves sharing a great American tragedy with us...Their loss is our loss. I did express to the families that while there’s nothing I can say that will bring back the children that were lost, the fact of the matter is, in their memory what we can do is to resolve that nobody else die."

The Mayor and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta also took the time to discuss fire safety measures everyone should undertake. Scoppetta said 70% of all fires occurred where there was no fire alarm (the home had two detectors, but they did not have batteries), while the Mayor said that in the case of fire, try to leave and close the door so the fire can't escape (a door was left open in the Bronx fire). And do not try to put the fire out yourself - call 911 as soon as you can. The FDNY will be handing out free batteries for smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors - daylight savings time is a good time to check them.


Funerals for all nine victims - eight children ages 7 months to 11 years and a 42-year-old woman - will be held at the Islamic Cultural Center on Monday. The Magassa family will be bury five children in NYC, while the three children and mother of the Soumare family will be buried in Mali. The city is helping out financially with the funerals, but the Islamic Cultural Center is accepting donations for the Magassa and Soumare Family Fund - learn more here.

Here are more fire safety tips from the FDNY. And the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating the space heater that caused the fire to see if there are any product flaws.

Photograph of Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Scoppetta by Jason DeCrow/AP; photograph of memorial outside the fire-ravaged Bronx home by Bebeto Matthews/AP