NEW YORK (CNN) — Private Emmanuel Mensah joined the Army National Guard one year ago so he could help others, according to his father.
He was home for the holidays on Thursday when he risked everything for others in an act of bravery that cost him his life.
Mensah died trying to pull neighbors out of his burning apartment building in the Bronx, New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. A child playing with a kitchen stove started the fire and it quickly spread through the 29-unit building.
“His heroism exemplifies the best of our city. Rest in peace,” the mayor said Saturday.
The fire killed at least 12 people, including four children, in the city’s deadliest blaze in more than 25 years.