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Burning building
Burning building

Six Ghanaian Perished in Bronx “Freezing” Fire

Story by: Frank Goka

Mensahsolomon donkor

The Lates PFC Emmanuel Mensah and Solomon Donkor


**How a Ghanaian Resident Escaped Death**

Following Thursday December 28 conflagration in the chilling winter cold that claimed 12 lives and had four others bargaining between survival and death, one luckiest resident of the 2363 Prospect Avenue property recounted the sequence of divinely events that spared his life.

The 37 year old resident—Mr. Owusu Ansah (aka Chief), who is a Ghanaian migrant stated that he was off-duty that Thursday and had been home all day until between “5:30-6pm” when he heard his intestinal choir singing the hunger songs. He left the room leaving behind his room-mate (a pregnant lady called Adwoa Hilda) to a proximal Jamaican Restaurant three blocks distance for food. He met a huge crowd of appetite-activated customers at the restaurant but having decided that he will let go the usual “fufu and goat-soup”, he was determined to join the unusual long queue to get “Rice and jerk-chicken”—a Jamaican delicacy to pacify his hunger. About 35 minutes wait, he noted a convoy of buzzing fire trucks, ambulances and police vehicles trooped towards his house. After buying his food, his heart skipped to his tongue when he got closer to realize that their building was ablaze and cordoned by the Emergency Crew.

Later, Mayor Bill de Blasio arrived to announce that 12 people had died and others injured from the fire. He became worried and probing himself with mind-boggling rhetorical questions like “Where is my room-mate?”, “Is she trapped in the room?”, “Has she been rescued…if so, where is she?” and “How about our other Ghanaian neighbors?”.

Chief said, he met another Ghanaian neighbor from the third floor who told him that she had seen a pregnant woman lying supine on their floor when she and her three children were escaping. The third-floor neighbor also admitted missing her room-mate who is another Ghanaian. He mentioned that he went to St. Barnabas Hospital and it was confirmed that a pregnant woman is among the casualties but he was unable to give the full name of Hilda and even if he had done so, Hilda might not have an ID card to correspond. According to Chief, he had moved to Hilda’s place three months ago and the two hardly meet at home due to variant work schedules; therefore, they did not have the opportunity to share personal matters on tete-a-tete.

It has emerged that a 28 year old Ghana-born U.S Army Soldier—PFC Emmanuel Mensah and five other Ghanaian natives perished in the catastrophe. He met his untimely death on a visit from the Army Camp and was reportedly saving lives prior to his demise. As at the interview, Chief stated that he heard one other neighbor by name “Mr. Sarkodie” also died—a suspicion that has been authenticated by officials and named the victim as Gabriel Yaw Sarkodie (48).  Other Ghanaian victims were: Hanna Donkor (17), Solomon Donkor (49), Justice Opoku (54), and William Donkor whose age is unknown as at press. The blazing fire claimed six other lives in addition to the Ghanaian descendants totaling 12.

Public Appeal

Chief’s room-mate Hilda is currently in coma at a nearby hospital and we are yet to establish any close relative of hers. She moved from Virginia to re-settle in Bronx but reporter unable to determine her previous location in Virginia  and the duration of her resettlement in Bronx at this time. Anyone with knowledge of a pregnant lady called “Hilda Adwoa” who fits above description should contact Amansan Radio, Bronx at amansanradiony@gmail.com or facebook: Ghanaforadio12.