An Army soldier, home on leave for the holidays, died saving his friends and neighbors from a massive fire that ripped through an apartment building in the Bronx Friday.
Emmanuel Mensah joined the U.S. military after immigrating from Ghana six years ago. He was hanging out at home with a group of friends and a former roommate when he noticed smoke drifting in through the door. After instructing his friends to get out, he went to find neighbors in need of rescue.
Mensah "rush[ed] in and out of the apartment building" several times, the New York Post reports, saving at least three people from the blaze, but then his friends lost sight of him. Mensah perished in the fire.
“That’s his nature,” Mensah's father, Kwabena, told the Post. “He was trying to help people out from the fire, and unfortunately he lost his life. He tried to do his best.”
“I understand when the fire was [going] he was trying to rescue . . . he had two or three people out,” his father continued. “He just came for the holidays. He helped his roommate’s wife and children, they were trying to come out to the stairs and he stopped them.”
“He told them to come out the window. ... Then he went in and tried to rescue people out.”
Mensah's body was found on the same floor as his friend's apartment.
Emmanuel Mensah was one of a dozen people who lost their lives in the deadly Bronx blaze, the single largest in the city since a club fire claimed 87 lives in 1990. The New York Police Department is investigating the incident, but the New York Post revealed over the weekend that the now-decimated building had been cited numerous times for violations of the city's electrical code.