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Also killed were family members Karen Francis, 37, Charmela Francis, 7, Kylie Francis, 2, and Shantay Young, 19, as well as Maria Batiz, 58, and her 7-month-old granddaughter, Amora Vidal.

Instead, the blaze at the five-story apartment building near the Bronx Zoo became his last stand. Emmanuel was one of 12 to lose their lives in the fire, the deadliest since the 1990 Happy Land Social Club arson took 87 lives less than a mile away.

28-year-old Emmanuel Mensah had enlisted in the Army one year ago.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the five-alarm blaze was intensified when the mother of the boy grabbed her children and ran from the apartment leaving the door wide open. "Then he went in and tried to rescue people out".

Kwabena, who lives next door to the now-gutted building, has spent much of the time since the fire visiting hospitals in the hope of finding his son alive.

It was the deadliest fire in New York City in more than 25 years.

The husband and wife told Bredu they were trying to go out the front door, but Mensah pulled them back into the room. Of those that tried, a few of them perished.

"I understand when the fire was [going] he was trying to rescue".

Survivors of the fire gathered at St. Barnabas Hospital which is where numerous injured were taken and some others were declared dead.

The "calm and lovely" young patriot had set his heart on becoming a soldier when the family moved to the U.S. from their native Ghana five or six years ago, the proud father explained.

Fire Department video released Friday showed the century-old building's charred halls and stairs, where icicles had formed from water poured on the blaze.

"She should have been watching her kid", said Nyvia Vidal, 47. This is all her fault.

In the Department's press release stated: "If you suspect that a child is playing with fire, or setting fires intentionally, the FDNY can help. This didn't have to happen". Before his mother knew it, he said, "this fire had gotten a good hold of the kitchen".

"Although our Firefighters got here in a little over 3 minutes, and bravely entered the building and did everything they could, and did save a number of residents, this loss is unprecedented", said Commissioner Nigro. "A lot of fire, a lot of smoke".