Kween Wood, 3, was back on the job Wednesday, learning her numbers and trying not to think about Sunday morning, when her life was, quite literally, in the hands of a man she had never met.
When it was over, Mahamed Keita walked through the soot covered staircase he used to rescue Wood on Sunday.
The third floor of the Twin Parks North West building was gutted by the fire, but he couldn’t see any of that when he began his harrowing descent down the stairs.
“People in the staircase trapped, they couldn’t move, I can’t see, people yelling, screaming, can’t see anything,” Keita said.
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Keita lived on the 19th floor of the Bronx high rise. When he made his way down a few floors, he heard a woman.
“She was screaming, she was crying, ‘help, I need help please help me, please help me.’ She had two kids, she couldn’t breathe so she was like ‘please help me, I have two kids,’ then I was like give me one, hold my hand, I give out my hand, she gave me one of the kids and I was like follow me,” Keita said.
He made it down the stairs with Wood safely, but he and the mom got separated.
“We were trapped on the sixth floor so good thing one of my neighbor’s apartment doors were open so we just went into his apartment,” Fatima Wood said.
Downstairs it was freezing.
“I took off my jacket, I only had one jacket — put it one the baby, the baby didn’t have no coat … no shoes, I put my jacket around her,” Keita said.
“When I looked out the window I saw Mahamed holding Kween outside so I was like thank god they made it,” Fatima Wood said.
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Eventually, Mahamed brought the little girl to an ambulance to make sure she was ok. She was reunited with her mom at St. Barnabas Hospital that afternoon.
“She’s fine. Thanks God, thanks to Mahamed, she’s fine,” Wood said.
“My mom always told me … always do the right thing, if you know you can help someone don’t hesitate,” Keita said.
He didn’t. He and Fatima Wood have still not met, but they plan to on Thursday.
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