PHILADELPHIA – A fire that broke in a family apartment claimed the life of a 5-year-old child.
The fire was in one of the units at the West Park Apartments’ 400 building – which is part of Philadelphia’s Housing Authority.
According to the Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers, a mother left her two sons in apartment 603, as she went downstairs to take out the trash. One of the neighbors smelled smoke emanating from the hallway as the mother was coming upstairs. The smoke was getting thicker so they rushed upstairs to get the children out.
They were able to rescue the 4-year-old child but couldn’t find his 5-year-old brother. It was firefighters who searched the apartment and found him under a bed. The child was immediately rushed to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, but the Fire Commissioner said it was too late.
The mother tried to get inside the bedroom but she could not as it was full of smoke. She did her best to save the child, said Commissioner Lloyd Ayers,
The 4-year-old, the mother, one of the neighbors and a fire fighter were all transported to the hospital.
At the time of the call, the fire engines had been moved to a nearby fire house as a water main broke at 42nd and market streets the night before so it took them approximately five to six minutes to respond, according to the commissioner.
If not for the delay, Engine 5 would be across the street in two minutes, a minute and a half, said Commissioner Ayers as he wondered if time could have saved the life of the child.
The 4-year-old, the neighbor, and a firefighter were transported to the hospital and are expected to be okay. The mother is in serious condition.
The fire commissioner said all fire alarms were working in the building. The fire marshal is undertaking the investigation.
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