Community gathers for vigil honoring victims of deadly Bronx fire

The Associated Press

Mensah died trying to pull neighbors out of his burning apartment building in the Bronx, New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

CNN reports that the fire was started when a 3-year-old boy was playing with burners on a kitchen stove.

The New York Police Department says those who died in the Bronx fire Thursday night include girls ages 1, 2 and 7, and a boy.

Commissioner Daniel Nigro (NY'-groh) says the blaze was accidentally ignited by a 3 ½-year-old boy playing with the burners on his mother's stove.

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.

He was home for the holidays on Thursday when he risked everything for others in an act of bravery that cost him his life. He was in his apartment when the fire broke out. The child's mother grabbed the boy and his sibling and fled, but she left their apartment door open, allowing the flames to rapidly spread to the rest of the building.

So each time someone opened a window, more oxygen rushed into the building and fanned the flames.

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"The mother was not aware of it, was alerted by the young man screaming", said Daniel Nigro, commissioner for the New York City Fire Department.

A mother and her two daughters - aged two and seven - as well as a one-year-old girl and an unidentified boy were among the dead, according to police. "Come on", she said, tears filling her eyes.

"That's his nature", his father Kwabena Mensah told the New York Post. "He wanted to help people out". He brought people outside.

Emmanuel Mensah was stationed in Virginia.

This visit was his first back to the Bronx in the year since he enlisted in the National Guard, his father said.

Four people remain in a critical condition following the inferno, which Mayor Bill de Blasio called the "worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city in at least a quarter century".

"Private Emmanuel Mensah was a first generation immigrant, a soldier, and a New Yorker".

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Thursday's fire was New York's deadliest since 87 people were killed in a 1990 inferno at a Bronx social club, The Times said. His heroism exemplifies the best of our city.

The FDNY says in a tweet that's the number of injuries now reported from the fire near the Bronx Zoo.

The Fire Department of NY says a blaze raging in a Bronx apartment building has seriously injured 15 people.

Fifty-nine-year-old Thierno Diallo says he was asleep in his ground floor apartment when he heard banging on the door. "That's where the baby is". "It took the fire so quickly upstairs that people had very little time to react". They were trying to come out to the stairs and he stopped them.

Survivors such as Joel Rodriguez now wonder what to do next. He went out and back twice, but "on the third time he couldn't find his way out", he said.

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

Father Jonathan Morris, pastor at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in the Bronx, spent hours following the fire consoling families at hospitals as they grappled with the injury, loss or uncertainty of what would happen to their loved ones.

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

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