An undocumented migrant from Senegal was granted residency in Spain on Friday after he was celebrated as a hero for having saved a disabled man from a burning building last month.
Gorgui Lamine Sow was walking down a street in Denia, Spain,
on December 6 when he heard screams and saw smoke coming from a window on the first floor of an apartment building.
The 20-year-old climbed the iron bars of the front door before entering the burning apartment from the balcony. He reappeared with a man slung over his shoulder, carrying him down a ladder that had been set up by a neighbor. The man he rescued uses a walker.
Denia city hall quickly asked Spain's central government to give Sow a residence permit for his deed. The request was backed by nearly 90,000 people who signed a petition hailing him as a "model citizen", the AFP news agency writes.
On Friday, Spain's labor and immigration ministry announced it had granted Sow residency in recognition of his "act of courage and service to the community."
'I don't like to see people suffer'
Gorgui Lamine Sow works as a street vendor in Denia, located on the eastern Mediterranean coast of Spain. He arrived in Spain in 2017.
Sow told Spanish media that he lives in a crowded room in the seaside town of Gandia with his partner and their seven-month-old daughter, and travels 40 kilometers by bus every day to Denia to sell bracelets and necklaces on the streets, a common job for undocumented migrants in Spain.
"I am poor. But I am also strong and can help. I don't like to see people suffer. There was smoke and fire. But you can't be afraid. There was a person inside and I had to get him out," he told the local daily newspaper Levante-El Mercantil Valenciano last month.
Lamine Sow's case has been compared to that of Mamoudou Gassama, a Malian migrant in France who in May 2018 scaled a Paris apartment block to save a boy dangling from a fourth-floor balcony. Gassama was later granted French citizenship and was taken on as a trainee by the Paris fire service.With AFP