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CFD: Toddler dies in West End apartment fire

Posted at 3:07 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 08:21:38-05

CINCINNATI — A 3-year-old boy has died after an apartment fire in the West End, Cincinnati Fire officials said Monday.

At 2:20 p.m. firefighters responded to the scene on the 1500 block of Winchell Avenue for a report of a fire in an apartment building with people trapped inside.

“They got confirmation from three neighbors and the grandmother that there was a young child that was somewhere. They thought he was in the bedroom," said Cincinnati Fire Chief Roy Winston.

Someone who lives inside the building pulled the child's grandmother out of the burning apartment, Winston said, and she was not injured. Meanwhile, firefighters searched for the boy still inside.

"They had to make that search as the fire was going on, as heroically and as fast as they could," Winston said. "They did a systematic search of that first floor until they could find and locate the child.”

Crews found the boy under a bed and treated him at the scene. He was transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he later died.

“Last year, we had no fire deaths that involved children," Winston said. "I thought our firefighters did a great job. To come into the new year, here we are just shy of two months into it. It's something that hits us at home, and we can only imagine how it affects that family."

Neighbor Sanda Garrett said the tragedy took a life much too soon. She remembers the boy, who she said would ride on a red scooter around the apartment.

“I just turned 66. The baby ain't made -- he had no life. He's now gone,” she told WCPO.

Investigators believe that the boy was playing with a lighter and incense near a couch when it caught fire. Winston said this case is a solemn reminder for parents to talk to their children about the dangers of playing with fire.

"We want to keep those things away from our young children so as not to have another tragic incident like this to happen,” he said.

Fire officials said no smoke detectors were present inside the apartment.