When the deadliest fire in New York City in more than 25 years ripped through the apartment building where Pfc. Emmanuel Mensah lived, he made a choice.
Instead of escaping unharmed to live out his life as a newly minted soldier and American citizen, Private Mensah, 26, went back inside to rescue his neighbors, ultimately paying with his life.
He was among the 13 victims of the December fire, including five members of a family rooted in Jamaica, five other immigrants from his native Ghana, a woman from Puerto Rico and her infant granddaughter. The blaze was started by a 3-year-old boy playing with a stove. (Story by Ashley Southhall).
I covered the tradition Ghana funeral, the memorial service and burial for The New York Times.
The Traditional Ghana Funeral
The Memorial Service & Burial
Photographs taken for The New York Times story: Soldier Who Died Saving People From Bronx Fire Is Hailed at His Funeral.
Demetrius Freeman is a freelance Visual Journalist, who most frequently covers the metro section of The New York Times. For two years, he was a photographer for New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio. His work has been published in CNN, The New York Times, Newsweek, The Tampa Bay Times, and ProPublica. Demetrius has participated in several workshops and seminars including The Mountain Workshop, The Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, The New York Times Portfolio Review, The Missouri Photo Workshop, and is an alumni of The Eddie Adams Workshop XXVII. He also supports and contributes in photography volunteer work and provide mentorship to high school photography students. Learn more and send him a note through his website, or follow him on Instagram @demetriusfreeman.