Lighter Sparks Greys Ferry Fire, Toddler Killed, 4 Others Injured

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The cause of a fast moving fire that claimed the life of little boy in the city’s Grays Ferry section Friday morning has been determined. The boy’s mother and brother are hospitalized with life threatening injuries.

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers:

“We have discovered that the cause of the fire was a child playing with a lighter.”

Firefighters responded to the scene in the 1500 block of Corlies Street at about 8:30 a.m. to find four children trapped on the second floor of a two-story row home.

“We took several toddlers to the hospital,” said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers. “One child died in the fire.”

A family friend says a 2-year-old named Sincere is the one who passed away.

Neighbors say the mother, Nina Pitkow, was at one point seen standing on the roof pleading for help. Officials tell Eyewitness News that the mother received 2nd degree burns to 10 percent of her body.

grays ferry fire victims Lighter Sparks Greys Ferry Fire, Toddler Killed, 4 Others Injured

Tristan, 3, pictured left was critically injured and his sister, Jayla, 4, was also injured.

Neighbors say her 3-year-old son’s name is Tristan. According to the Fire Commissioner, he’s in critical condition. His 4-year-old sister Jayla is alert, talking and being treated for smoke inhalation.

Another young boy, identified by neighbors as 8-month-old Jerimiah, is in intensive care, according to the Philadelphia Fire Department. Two other children who lived at the residence, ages 9 and 7, were in school when the fire started.

Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says firefighters arrived on the scene minutes after the call. They had to get through heavy smoke and flames on the first floor to reach the victims.

“Firefighters removed several toddlers from the building, one of which, unfortunately, was deceased,” said Ayers.

Firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control in about thirty minutes.

Ironically, there was a working smoke alarm in every room of the house in the 1500 block of Corlies Street.

Commissioner Ayers says the mother made a common but tragic mistake:

“The mother tried to extinguish the fire, but they ended up being trapped on the second floor.”

The commissioner says smoke alarms are just that: warning devices. His advice:

“Once you hear that smoke alarm go off, or once you’re sure you have a fire, get out, stay out, call the fire department.”

Reported by: Jericka Duncan, CBS 3; Molly Daly, Kim Glovas & Margie Smith, KYW Newsradio


One Comment

  1. Gloria says:

    Well i think every body should have them kids n they prayer,nina should of got all the kids out frist n she should have not left the 4 other kids n the house by they self to take the oldest kids to school, my god bless her n her family forever…rip sincere(tears)

  2. bottonline says:

    Is this the time to play politics? Wouldn’t the brown outs be discontinued if the firemen took pay cuts, since no one in city council wants to take pay cuts or resign?

    1. doubleb says:

      The facts are the facts. A fire engine was browned out. It would normally be assigned the critical function of first engine in the rear. The next closest engine from 24th and Ritner had to do this function. They are coming from farther away. As far as the pay goes, here are the facts: Philly is the 5th or 6th biggest fire department in the nation, the 3rd busiest behind FDNY and Chicago. Our fire department is not in the top 100 based on payscale. These men and women are cut the most out of any department, and I take exception to you suggesting paycuts would eliminate brownouts. Better management both at the city level and department level would eliminate brownouts.

  3. firefyter says:

    First and foremost, I express my deepest condolences to the families of the 1528 S. Corlies. This is a tragedy that could of had a different outcome.. Old father fire has proven time and time again, given the upper hand coupled with administrative cutbacks, someone will suffer. I believe in my heart, that if the second in company had been there, the outcome may have been different. A company of 3 firefighters just does not put out the fire. It is a orchestrated effort on behalf of the responding companies. Take a company out of the equation, YOU WAIT AND WONDER.

    I will go into work now wondering, coulda, shoulda, and wooda. But when the bell and printer go off, I put my heart and soul into my profession, not for the patsies at City Hall but for the citizens of this fair city.

    I urge all citizens to demand full time 100 percent functioning not a part time 75 percent department.

  4. ed says:

    the 2nd in engine company was browned out today and the 2nd in ladder was closed in jan 2009

  5. Badabing says:

    They should close MORE firehouses. Smart.

Comments are closed.

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