A father whose ex-wife and 6-year-old son died in Sunday’s horrific Bronx high-rise fire described the agonizing conversation when he had to tell his surviving daughter they didn’t make it out alive.
Mamadi Jambang, 53, who didn’t live with his children and ex, told The Post that through witness accounts he determined the trio were on the top floor of the 19-story building when the blaze broke out.
His son, Omar Jambang, and the boy’s mother, 43-year-old Fatoumata Tunkara, were among two of 17 victims who died of smoke inhalation in the inferno that started in a third-floor duplex.
“I guess Fatoumata carried Omar down the stairs when the smoke was going up,” the father said. “They were coming down the stairs.”
Mamadi’s 9-year-old daughter, Mariam Jambang, was with her mom and brother that day and survived.
At first, unsure of how to break the devastating news – Mamadi told his daughter the two were still in the hospital. But he eventually broke the heartbreaking truth.
“I had to explain to Mariam what happened,” the father said. “I had to sit her down, close to me, because she’s been asking all the time for her mommy.”
“Originally I told her mommy was at the hospital with Omar and that they’d be OK. But in the end I had to tell her ‘mommy and Omar did not make it, they passed away, you’re not going to see them anymore, but I’m here for you, don’t worry, we’ll be OK,’” Mamadi recounted.
Mamadi said he and his ex-wife had joint custody of the kids and now his daughter will be living with him full time.
The boy and his sister were inseparable and “always playing together,” Mamadi said.
The father remembered his son as a “very smart” and “very active” boy who did well in school at Success Academy in Washington Heights.
“I really loved him. It is very unfortunate,” he said.