On Thursday, an apartment building in the Bronx went up in flames, and at least 12 people lost their lives.
According to CNN, the fire began in an apartment on the first floor and was caused by a 3-year-old playing with the burners on the kitchen stove while his mother was in the other room.
The mother grabbed her two kids and fled the apartment. However, she left the door open, and fire officials said that caused the apartment to act like a chimney and allowed the fire to spread.
Among those killed was a United States soldier — and without him, the number of casualties would have been higher.
Twenty-eight-year-old Emmanuel Mensah finished basic training in Georgia and was home for the holidays before he was set to go to Virginia.
“He helped his roommate’s wife and children, they were trying to come out to the stairs and he stopped them,“ his father, Kwabena Mensah, told the New York Post. ”He told them to come out the window … Then he went in and tried to rescue people out.”
Kwabena explained to the New York Post his son’s body was found in another apartment on the same floor.
“He brought four people out,” his uncle, Twum Bredu, told The New York Times. “When he went to bring a fifth person out, the fire caught up with him.”
According to the New York Post, the family came to the United States from Ghana five or six years ago, and Emmanuel immediately wanted to join the Army. At first, the father was resistant but later decided it was his son’s choice.
CNN reported it was the deadliest fire in New York City in over 25 years.