The migrant hero who was snapped climbing into a burning building to save an ill man has said “I may be poor but I have a heart” when asked about his heroic deed.
Senegalese national Gorgui Lamine Sow, 20, became a hero in the city of Denia, in the south-eastern Spanish province of Alicante, in the region of Valencia, when he was snapped climbing onto the first-floor balcony of a burning house to help save an ill man trapped inside.
The trapped man, named in reports as Alex, reportedly suffers from an illness which forces him to require the use of a walking frame and Sow was snapped carrying the ill man from the home.
Sow, who lives with his partner, Gana Gadiaga and his seven-month-old daughter Ndye, in Gandia, near Denia, told local newspaper Levante: “I did not think. There was a person inside and I had to get him out.”
The Senegalese migrant simply washed his hands in a neighbour’s house and left the scene after rescuing the man.
However, local residents have now thanked him after he was found by local media and reports state he will be honoured on the Day of the Local Police in Denia in a ceremony on 20th December.
He said: “I did it with heart. It is true that I am poor, that I do not have money but I have a heart.“I have a heart that wants to help people and I knew I could save him.”
Sow travelled to Spain on a boat from western Africa two and half years ago, saying: “I came with nothing and I’ve been street vending to survive.
“I want papers and be able to work and live here with my family”
Alex, the man who was rescued, told local media: “I woke up after hearing bangs on the front door of the house. It was full of smoke and I was trapped, unable to get out.”
Reports state rescuers could not walk through the building because of the flames. A retired firefighter used an old ladder to reach the first-floor balcony and Sow was able to carry Alex to safety down it.
Firefighters then arrived on the scene and the victim was taken to the La Fe hospital in Valencia.
According to Javier Scotto di Tella Manresa, the Councillor of Citizen Protection for Denia, the man suffered burns to the oesophagus and symptoms of smoke suffocation. He is in a stable condition and has been discharged from the hospital.
Firefighters are investigating the causes of the fire. Alex told local media that he had left a heater on and “my dog I think, put a blanket over it, causing the fire”, but the official cause has not been revealed.