Community gathers for vigil honoring victims of deadly Bronx fire

Marie Harrington
December 31, 2017

The deadliest residential fire to hit New York City in at least a quarter century swept through a Bronx apartment building Thursday on one of the coldest nights this winter, killing 12 people and leaving four more fighting for their lives, city officials said.

Late Friday, NYPD revealed the identities of several others killed in fire: Shantay Young, 19; Karen Francis, 37; Kylie Francis, 2; and Charmela Francis, 7. But another family on the fifth floor suffered unimaginable tragedy.

"I was doing what any pastor would do", said Father Morris in a December 29 telephone interview with Catholic News Service.

"Private Emmanuel Mensah was a first-generation immigrant, a soldier, and a New Yorker". Nine children and one adult died in a blaze sparked by a space heater. "He gave his life rescuing his neighbors in the Bronx fire", Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet Saturday afternoon. He brought people outside.

As smoke and flames engulfed the building near the Bronx Zoo, Mensah bravely helped evacuate neighboring units, relatives and the mayor's office said.

The 28-year-old was in for the holidays - his first trip home since joining the Army a year ago.

The drugstore cashier said she was at work when she heard about the fire in their Belmont neighborhood.

The first call to the fire department came in Thursday evening, at 6:51 p.m. ET, the city's fire commissioner said. "That's where the baby is". "The fire got started, the mother was not aware of it - she was alerted by the young man screaming".

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"The stairway acted like a chimney", Nigro said. That was the last time they were together, much to her regret now.

Survivors like Joel Rodriguez now wonder what to do next.

Vanessa Mensah, 20, said her older brother's heroism hasn't lessened the family's misery.

The Red Cross is providing temporary housing, along with food, drinks, blankets and mental health care to those residents in need.

Loved ones say they're still in shock over the sudden loss.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with the families that were affected", he said.

"We've lost so many people". Kwabena Mensah said his son, Emmanuel, spent his final moments trying to rescue other people in the building. "When you see something like this happen, it reminds us how precious life is".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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