Massive fire that killed 12 started by child playing with stove

Glen Norman
December 31, 2017

A dozen people died, and four others were fighting for their lives a day after the flames broke out in the century-old building near the Bronx Zoo.

The "calm and lovely" young patriot had set his heart on becoming a soldier when the family moved to the USA from their native Ghana five or six years ago, Kwabena said.

Creegan says the city takes seriously the issue of self-closing doors, required in all dwellings with more than three units.

A spokesman for the city's Department of Housing Preservation & Development said the 26-unit building has a "relatively low history of fix violations".

"I understand when the fire was [going] he was trying to rescue. he had two or three people out", the father told The Post, tears of loss and pride welling in his eyes.


28-year-old Emmanuel Mensah had been home to spend time with family for the Christmas holiday after finishing Army duty training in Georgia.

The plaster and brick structure, built in 1916, had six open violations including for a defective smoke detector, The New York Times reported, though De Blasio said there was nothing problematic "as far as we can see".

The blaze broke out Thursday evening in a 25-apartment building near the Bronx Zoo, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the U.S. financial capital. He was staying with a family that escaped the fire safely, but no one could find Mensah, despite checking four hospitals.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Floyd McLean, chief fire prevention officer at the Jamaica Fire Brigade, believes that there are profound lessons to be learnt from a massive fire at an apartment building in the Bronx in New York City Thursday, which left 12 persons dead including at least four Jamaicans. Among the dead were four children - three girls ages 1, 2 and 7 and a young boy whose age has yet to be released. "He was trying to help people out from the fire, and unfortunately he lost his life". His age was not given. But the flames moved so fast, spreading through every floor of the building within minutes, that many never made it out of their apartments. "It seems like a frightful, tragic accident", De Blasio said Friday.

Witnesses describe seeing burned bodies being carried away on stretchers and young girls who had escaped standing barefoot outside with no coats.


Excluding 9/11, Thursday's fire was the city's deadliest since 87 people were killed at a social club in the same Bronx neighborhood in 1990. The Democrat says first responders saved at least 12 lives. On Twitter, he said it had been a "devastating night".

The cause remained under investigation.

The family said Mensah lived with a roommate in the five-story building, set ablaze by a 3-year-old boy playing with a gas stove.

Some tenants of the building climbed down fire escapes.


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