Senator Chuck Schumer urged the Army to posthumously honor a soldier who died while rescuing people from a massive Bronx fire.
Schumer’s appeal concerns Private First Class Emmanuel Mensah, who was among the 13 victims of the fast-moving blaze that on December 28 reduced the building at 2363 Prospect Ave. into a charred wreck, the New York Daily News reported Friday. Before his death, Mensah saved four lives, officials said.
Mensah, 28, plunged in and out of the flaming building at least three times to rescue people trapped inside.
The Army National Guard soldier, whose family emigrated from Ghana, had lived at 2363 Prospect Ave. before going to Virginia for training, the Army said in a statement on its website.
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) January 4, 2018
Mensah, a permanent legal resident, had enlisted in 2016.
Democrat Schumer from New York, who is Jewish, wrote a letter to the Army asking them to issue a posthumous award to recognize Mensah’s bravery and sacrifice.
“Private First Class Emmanuel Mensah was many things: A soldier, an immigrant, a first-generation American, a New Yorker — but above all else he was a hero,” Schumer said in his letter. “It is my sincere hope that the Department of the Army will honor and recognize one of their own who lived and died according to the highest ideals of their institution and of this country,” he wrote.
The fire — the deadliest in New York since the 1990 Happy Land nightclub fire that killed 87 — was sparked by a child playing with a stove on the first floor, officials said.
The boy’s mother, who still hasn’t been named, fled the burning building, leaving her door open behind her. That let the flames quickly spread to an adjoining fire escape.
When firefighters got inside the building, they found Mensah on an upper floor.
Based on where he fell, the firefighters said they believed Mensah was still trying to rescue other trapped people, New York Army National Guard officials said.