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September 24, 2018

Malian 'Spiderman' who saved boy, 4, in Paris starts new job as a fireman

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. /COURTESY
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. /COURTESY

The heroic 22-year-old Malian man nicknamed 'Spiderman' after climbing up the side of a building to rescue a dangling child has begun his new job as a Paris fireman.

Mamoudou Gassama was feted by the French state after footage of his brave act went viral in May.

The video showed Gassama scaling four storeys of the building with his bare hands.

It won him the promise of citizenship from President Emmanuel Macron and a job in the French capital's fire brigade.

Today, the superstar saviour experienced his first day as a firefighter.

The Paris Fire Brigade tweeted a photograph of Gassama on Thursday showing him with 23 other new recruits.

At the end of May, Gassama 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?

"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 went viral.

He arrived in France via Italy and the illegal Mediterranean migrant route.

The family of the young boy he saved thanked him for his quick thinking.

The boy's paternal grandmother, who like his mother lives in Reunion, told RMC radio in May that she was 'very moved' by the images of the rescue and sent 'huge thanks' to Gassama.

"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.

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.

"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 in May that he 'did not think twice' before springing into action.

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