Posted at: 08/03/2012 11:50 PM
| Updated at: 08/04/2012 12:17 AM
By: Dan Levy
TROY - Dozens of neighbors from the Griswold Heights Apartments turned out, along with Troy city officials, on Friday night, to welcome home a bonafide hero.
Back on July 8th, Shontal Gaymon risked her life by racing into a neighbor's burning apartment and saving a tiny baby who was home alone. Shontal returned to her home after a month long stay at the Westchester Hospital burn unit.
With bandaged arms and an effervescent smile, 29-year old Shontal Gaymon returned home for the first time since an overnight fire July 8th that changed her life forever.
"On behalf of all the residents of Troy we thank you for your heroism," proclaimed Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia, greeting Shontal with a large bouquet of flowers as she stepped onto her front porch.
Troy Police Captain John Cooney, quoting a actor Christopher Reeve, said, "a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of the overwhelming obstacles. Chris was Superman in real life and fiction. You are our Super Girl."
Cooney also presented a check to Shontal, donations from every police officer and firefighter in the city that will pay her rent for the next six months.
"I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it," was Shontal's reaction. "I definitely love it and I appreciate all the love."
Standing beside Shontal, in the arms of her mother Princess Lashley, was one year old Nickia Frazier, the little girl who was home alone at 3:00 A.M. back on July 8th. Nickia was inside a playpen in apartment 5 of building 5 of the Griswold Heights Housing Complex. Shontal and three other adults were together next door inside apartment six when the smoke alarm began blaring.
"We couldn't get through the window (into the burning apartment)," said Erica Garrett, one of the four adults inside apartment six the night of the fire. "We couldn't get through the front door because it was locked but somehow and some way Shontal got to that baby."
Shontal, who is friends with the baby's mother, Princess Lashley, said, "the baby is family, that was more of a reason why it was done. I'm not saying I won't do it for any other child but it was more of a reason why."
"There's so many emotions going around," said Eric Garrett. "We're all excited and happy. She's finally here and we're going to enjoy it and celebrate it the best way we can."
Nearly one month later, the cause of the fire is still under investigation. Police are also still considering charges against the person who left little Nickia all alone in the apartment.