Published On: Sat, Jan 6th, 2018

Chuck Schumer wants Army to honor heroic soldier killed in Bronx fire

Sen. Chuck Schumer is urging the Army to posthumously honor soldier Emmanuel Mensah, who died Dec. 28 while rescuing people from a massive Bronx fire.

Private First Class Mensah was among the 13 victims of the fast-moving blaze that reduced the building at 2363 Prospect Ave. into a charred wreck.

Before his tragic death, the young soldier saved four lives, officials said.

Mensah, 28, plunged in and out of the flaming building at least three times — bringing at least four other residents to safety — before he succumbed on the fourth floor.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.

Mensah, a permanent legal resident, had enlisted in 2016.

Schumer, (D-N.Y.) 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 deadly fire — the worst in city history 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 mom, 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.
Mensah was slated to begin drilling with the New York Army National Guard’s 107th Military Police Company this month.

The 107th Military Police Company is based at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn.

Mensah was still assigned to Company A of the New York Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion prior to joining the 107th MP Company.

Staff Sgt. Ruben Martinez-Ortiz recruited Mensah, according to the Army.

He told the National Guard that Mensah was an excellent soldier.

“I knew from the moment I met him his heart was as big as our National Guard family,” Martinez-Ortiz said in an article about Mensah on the Army’s website.

“He was ready to serve our nation and community. Pfc. Mensah was the embodiment of what our Army Values stand for,” Martinez-Ortiz said.

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