Belmont fire victim posthumously honored for saving lives

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BELMONT -

Emmanuel Mensah, the Army National Guard soldier who died while saving neighbors in last year’s Belmont fire, was honored posthumously today with the Soldier’s Medal and the New York state Medal for Valor.

Mensah, 28, was awarded the high honors after losing his life while saving lives during the deadly fire on Dec. 28. As News 12 has reported, 13 people died in the fire at an apartment building on Prospect Avenue, but the number could have been higher if it was not for Mensah.

After saving a family of six and four additional people, he ran back into the burning building to help others, but ended up losing his life.

"We hope that his legacy is remembered and he died a hero and we find solace in that we're very proud of that," said Emmanuel Oppong, Mensah’s cousin.

The family of Emmanuel Mensah says his lifelong dream was to join the military. The Soldier’s Medal is the Army’s top award for valor outside of combat and the New York state medal is the highest military award.

A memorial service will be held Saturday morning at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.

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