San Jose 6-year-old boy dies after fire

May 3, 2012 9:23:25 PM PDT
A 6-year-old boy injured during a three-alarm fire in San Jose early Tuesday morning that killed his mother and left his father critically injured died this morning, fire officials said.

The fire at the fourplex apartment building at 2291 Warfield Way, which hospitalized five other people, was reported at 2:47 a.m. The blaze was upgraded to a three-alarm fire at 3:06 a.m. and was knocked down by firefighters by 3:42 a.m.

Neighbors alerted arriving firefighters that people were still inside the burning building, and firefighters immediately went into rescue mode, fire Capt. Mary Gutierrez said.

Encountering heavy smoke, fire and heat, the firefighters looking for victims found the 6-year-old boy and his mother on the bed. The father had managed to break the bedroom window and escape to the roof, Gutierrez said.

Firefighters rescued the boy and used a ladder to bring the mother and father down from the second level, Gutierrez said.

The boy had been hospitalized and was in critical condition but died this morning, Gutierrez said.

Fire Chief William McDonald said in a statement released today that the firefighters "gave every ounce of commitment and courage they had to rescue and resuscitate the trapped family members" and are "deeply saddened by this loss of life."

"We extend our thoughts and prayers to the family member who remains hospitalized and to the entire family," McDonald said.

Seven family members lived together in the unit, including the mother, father, the 6-year-old boy, a 12-year-old boy, and their aunt, uncle and grandfather, Gutierrez said.

The 12-year-old boy and the other members of the family all escaped the blaze and are reportedly in stable condition, Gutierrez said.

The fire appears to have originated from the garage of the building, directly under the area where the family slept, Gutierrez said.

"While we may never know all of the answers, fire investigators will conduct a thorough investigation," McDonald said.

Firefighters also went into an apartment unit adjacent to the one where the fire originated and helped two people who were still asleep and in danger of being affected by the blaze.

Gutierrez said 13 people were displaced by the blaze after the building was declared uninhabitable.

The mother's death was the city's first fire fatality in about a year, according to Gutierrez.

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