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Street Renaming Ceremony Honors Bronx Hero

Bronx Street Renaming

Honorary Sign Given to Mensah Family. Photo by Nora Thomas.

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The Bronx honored Private First Class Emmanuel Mensah of the Army National Guard today at a street renaming ceremony.

Mensah died in the Belmont apartment building fire in December 2017 that took the lives of 12 additional residents of his apartment building. Mensah bravely elected to reenter the building after he helped the family he lived with escape the blaze and assisted four more people before perishing in the fire. He was 26 years old and had become a soldier and a citizen of the United States just months prior to his death. Mensah was originally from Ghana and left behind his father, Kwabena Mensah, and four siblings.

Mensah’s family and the Belmont community gathered on Prospect Place near 187th to honor his memory.

“There is no one,” said Belmont Councilman Ritchie Torres, “whose legacy embodies the immigrant roots and fearless spirit of Belmont more than our very own Emmanuel Mensah.”

The fire had been started by a three year-old playing with the stove in his apartment. New York City has since passed ordinances requiring landlords to install child-proof stove knobs and raise awareness about the importance of closing doors in the event of a fire. Prospect Avenue is now Private First Class Emmanuel Mensah Way.