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Child Killed, 4 Injured In West Philadelphia Fire

Fatal fire scene (credit: Jenn Bernstein)

Fatal fire scene (credit: Jenn Bernstein)

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By Jennifer Bernstein

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A 5-year-old child lost his life after a fire broke out inside his family’s apartment.

It happened at the 400 building of the West Park Apartments – which is part of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

Fire officials said his mother left her two sons in apartment 603, as she went downstairs to take out the trash.

A neighbor smelled smoke and came into the hallway at the same time as the mother was coming upstairs.

“The doors opened, the heavier volume of smoke comes out, they go in to get the children out, the adult male and the mom were able to get the child out,” said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

The 4-year-old was rescued, but they weren’t able to get his 5-year-old brother out. It was firefighters who searched the apartment and found him under a bed. They tried to resuscitate the child, and he was then rushed to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, but the Fire Commissioner said it was too late.

“The mother went back in toward the bedroom, and could not get back into the bedroom,” said Commissioner Lloyd Ayers, “The mom tried to get that child. She did all that she could, she’s in the hospital for it right now.”

The 4-year-old, mother, and the neighbor were also transported to the hospital, as was a firefighter.

Fire officials had to fight another battle when they received the call. A watermain break at 42nd and market streets last night forced them to move their engines out of the nearby firehouse. It took them approximately five to six minutes to respond, according to the commissioner.

“There was a delayed response in that normally Engine 5 would be across the street in two minutes, a minute and a half, they’d be here,” said Commissioner Ayers. “I wonder, I always wonder, what if.”

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 investigating.