Could street hawker hero be rewarded with Spanish residency and a right to work?

Fiona Govan
Fiona Govan - [email protected]
Could street hawker hero be rewarded with Spanish residency and a right to work?
Gorgui Lamine Sow was presented with a Superman T-shirt by the man he saved. Photo: Gorgiou Lamine Sow

Residents in Denia have launched a petition calling for Gorgui Lamine Sow, the undocumented migrant who leapt into a burning building to save a disabled man, to be rewarded for his heroic deed.


A petition registered on is lobbying for Lamine, who arrived from Senegal by boat two years ago, to be given residency and work papers in recognition of his saving the life of Alex Caudeli on Friday.

Lamine scaled a wall and entered the burning building, lifted Caudeli, who is unable to walk following a long illness, over his shoulder and brought him to safety after a heater caused a fire in his first floor room.

But as quickly as he had appeared, he vanished; before anyone had a chance to thank him or find out his name.  

The Local tracked him down on Monday thanks to Roberta Etter, who lives next door to Caudeli and witnessed the extraordinary rescue.

Gorgui Lamine Sow carried Alex Caudeli over his shoulder to safety. Photo: Roberta Etter

The 20-year-old shared details of his life describing how he lived in one drafty room with his girlfriend, Gana, and seven-month-old daughter Ndye, and that as a family they travelled 40km each day by bus from Gandia to eek out a living selling bracelets in Denia’s port.

On Tuesday he was more positive saying reaction to his story had been huge and he hoped it might result in regularization and a more steady life for him and his family.

“I hope to get papers and a home so we can live here peacefully in Spain,” he told The Local by telephone.

“I’d really like to be a truck driver,” he revealed.

Just as the petition was launched, the mayor of Denia said he has asked the central government to fast track residency for Lamine and local media reported that the request is currently being analysed.

Denia’s town hall also plans a ceremony to recognise Lamine with a bravery award.

On Tuesday Lamine met the man whose life he saved. Caudeli, who was discharged from hospital on Monday after being treated for burns, had bandages on his face and hands

“It was great to meet him and see him doing ok,” Lamine told The Local after the meeting. “He gave me a superman T-shirt and one for the baby.”

It's not the first time that a heroic act changed the life of an illegal immigrant.  Last year France awarded citizenship to Mamoudou Gassama, an immigrant from Mali who scaled an apartment building in Paris to save a child clinging to the outside of a balcony. He is now a firefighter.

To sign the petition CLICK HERE



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