Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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Funeral held for baby who died Sunday in Utica fire

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Funeral held for baby who died Sunday in Utica fire
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UTICA, N.Y. -- A private funeral was held today for baby Marian Omar who died in Sunday's fire on Dudley Avenue.

Marian Omar is survived by her parents and four older siblings.

Funeral services took place at the home of the president of the Mohawk Valley Somali Bantu Association on South Street Monday. It was important the baby be buried within 72 hours to accommodate the family's Muslim faith.

Marian's family are Somali immigrants and heavily involved with the association.

Sidi Mwalimu is a member and spoke to the baby's mother. Mwalimu says the Somali community is tight-knit, and everyone is in pain from the loss. He recalls a memory she shared.

"She said, 'When I leave from the ESL class and go to pick up my child, my child used to always smile and play with me. I think that's right in front of me, but I know I'm not going to see that again. It's going to be hard for me to live on without the smile of my child. But God gave it to me, and I have nothing I can do about it,'" Mwalimu said.

Firefighters were pushed back by flames and unable to enter Omar's room on the second floor.

The house had two apartments. Both families living at 1508 Dudley Ave. were displaced and are being put up in hotels by the Red Cross. But in a few days they will need to find permanent shelter.

Mwalimu says he, along with several other organizations and community members, are working tirelessly to find the families a place to stay.

Fire marshals are still investigating the cause of the fire.

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