Mamoudou Gassama, the 22-year-old Malian ‘Spiderman’ feted for saving a child hanging from a balcony, took his first step toward French citizenship Tuesday and joined the fire brigade as accolades continued to pour in over his daring rescue.
Video footage of Gassama scaling four storeys of the building with his bare hands has catapulted the young man to global fame, and earned him the promise of citizenship from President Emmanuel Macron.
Wearing white sweatpants and a black cap, the hero of a rescue video viewed by millions of people appeared slightly overwhelmed by the media furore as he filed his application for legal residency in the Paris suburb of Bobigny.
Hailing the bravery of the youth who had been living in France illegally, the head of the local authority, Pierre-Andre Durand said: ‘How can anyone fail to be impressed by what he did, not admire it?
Mamoudou Gassama, the 22-year-old Malian ‘Spiderman”‘feted for saving a child hanging from a balcony, has visited the Paris Fire Brigade headquarters and Champerret fire station
Paris fire brigade commander general Jean-Claude Gallet and Mamoudou Gassama are pictured as the Malian migrant joined the fire brigade
The athletic Malian signed up for a 10-month internship with the Paris fire and rescue services, expected to pay close to 600 euros ($690) a month
Malian migrant Mamoudou Gassama arrived to receive his temporary residence permit at the prefecture of Bobigny, northeast of Paris, on Tuesday
‘He helped someone in danger, which is not such a common thing in our society.’
Gassama became an overnight sensation after the video of him plucking a four-year-old boy to safety Saturday went viral.
On Monday he was honoured by President Emmanuel Macron with a medal for bravery, the promise of citizenship and the offer of a job with the fire service.
Gassama arrived in France via Italy and the perilous Mediterranean migrant route.
His official permit allowing him to work will arrive within a month, and his citizenship papers in about three months, officials said Tuesday.
The athletic Malian also visited a fire station to sign up for a 10-month internship with the Paris fire and rescue services, expected to pay close to 600 euros ($690) a month.
The family of the young boy he saved thanked him Tuesday for his quick thinking.
The boy’s paternal grandmother, who like his mother lives in Reunion, told RMC radio Tuesday that she was ‘very moved’ by the images of the rescue and sent ‘huge thanks’ to Gassama.
The four-year-old was filmed hanging on for his life outside an apartment on Rue Marx-Dormoy on Saturday afternoon, having been apparently left home alone while his father was out shopping
Gassama, 22, took less than 30 seconds to reach the child, and has since been compared to the Marvel superhero Spider-Man
After effortlessly making his ascent, encouraged by a crowd of onlookers, Gassama, originally from Mali, grabbed the boy and took him to safety
‘He’s really a hero,’ she said. ‘He did not stand by and watch, he saved my little sweetpea.’
The boy’s father, who had been living alone with him in Paris, had left him alone to go out to the shops and then remained on the street to play Pokemon Go, according to French investigators.
He was arrested on charges of neglecting his parental duties but released again on Monday.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said he had admitted his guilt and expressed ‘profound regret’.
The boy’s mother learned the news of the rescue on Reunion Island — the French Indian Ocean territory where she and the father were born and where she still lives.
Reacting to Gassama’s intervention on Antenne Reunion radio she said: ‘We can only thank him and thank heaven he was so reactive.’
Mamoudou Gassama told French President Emmanuel Macron he ‘did not think twice’ before scaling a building to rescue the child
Asked why he took such a risk to save the boy, Gassama (above) told Le Parisien: ‘I did it because it’s a child’
Mamoudou Gassama, 22, was hailed a hero for single-handedly scaling the facade of an apartment block in the capital’s 18th arrondissement, and hauling the four-year-old to safety. He is pictured displaying a certificate of courage and dedication signed by Paris Police Prefect Michel Delpuech
‘Things could have turned out much worse so I am relieved,’ she said, adding that she was impatient to be reunited with her son and husband.
Gassama told Macron during a visit on Monday that he ‘did not think twice’ before springing into action.
Lawmakers are debating a controversial bill that would speed up the deportation of economic migrants and failed asylum-seekers, thousands of whom live in squalid camps in the capital.
‘There’s a bit of hypocrisy or cynicism,’ added Claire Rodier of the GISTI association which supports immigrants. She saw a contrast between the treatment of Gassama and ‘the repressive policy of this government against migrants and those without documents.’