Girl Dies In Manchester Fire, 2 Teens Escape
Manchester Girl Perishes In Home Blaze
POSTED: 7:30 am EST February 20, 2004
MANCHESTER, Conn. -- A 4-year-old girl died after an early morning fire swept through a two-family home early Friday.
The fire was reported about 12:30 a.m. in a duplex on Winter Street, and three area fire departments were called to put it out, according to fire officials.
The victim was found in a hallway on the second floor of the home.
"There was just nothing that we could do," Asst. Fire Chief Robert Bycholski said. "We got her over to Manchester Memorial Hospital and it's just very sad. She didn't make it. She just could not be revived."
Officials said the girl, Brittany Beckford, was being watched by 15-year-old Kwandell Petersen and 13-year-old Denesha Petersen. The teens' mother and stepfather were not at home at the time.
Bycholski said the it could not immediately be determined how the fire began and fire investigators remained at the scene Friday morning.
A preliminary investigation indicates the fire started in the kitchen when the 15-year-old boy fell asleep while deep-frying hot dogs and watching a basketball game.
Denesha Petersen was upstairs with the 4-year-old. Denesha smelled smoke, went downstairs, and saw fire spreading up the wall and onto the ceiling of the kitchen. She woke Kwandell and the two got out of the home as the fire rapidly moved into the walls.
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Thread: 4 year-old girl dies in blaze
02-20-2004, 04:06 PM #1
4 year-old girl dies in blazeIACOJ Agitator
Fightin' Da Man Since '78!
02-20-2004, 04:20 PM #2
- Join Date
- Jul 1999
- Flanders, NJ
Let me guess...no smoke detectors.
02-20-2004, 05:33 PM #3
You are probably right. Next time I talk to someone from Manchester, I'll have to remember to ask.
It's a shame. It probably isn't something they think of, but these news people should point stuff like that out.IACOJ Agitator
Fightin' Da Man Since '78!
02-20-2004, 05:41 PM #4
Deep frying hotdogs??????? First of all, I have never heard of anyone doing that unless they are corn dogs. Second of all, I would not let my 15 year old deep fry ANYTHING. Its is a shame. My thoughts go out to the family.......
02-20-2004, 06:19 PM #5
Good grief... how long would have taken to run back up stairs and grab the little girl... or take her with you to check out the smoke smell. I notice she had time to wake her brother up. I'm not a big fan of kids watching kids. Very sad.
02-20-2004, 06:45 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jan 2004
- Northern Panhandle of WV
I agree with everything you said, 33
02-20-2004, 08:49 PM #7IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
"but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
02-20-2004, 09:59 PM #8
Condolences to the family and ALSO our professional family here. The call had to be rough for the guys & gals of Manchester. Good luck everyone~Kevin
Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
02-21-2004, 10:12 AM #9
From the Manchester-based Journal Inquirer:
4-year-old dies in Manchester fire
By Kimberly Phillips, Journal Inquirer February 20, 2004
MANCHESTER - A 4-year-old girl died in a two-alarm fire on Winter Street today when a teenager she was staying with fell asleep while deep-frying hot dogs.
Although two adults lived in the apartment, they weren't home when the fire broke out at about 12:45 a.m., Acting Fire Chief Robert Bycholski said.
Bycholski said the girl who was killed, Brittany Beckford of Hartford, didn't live at the two-family home at 25-27 Winter St.
She was staying overnight at 27 Winter St. with Kwandell Petersen, 15, and Denesha Petersen, 13. The teens' mother, Annett Allen-Lawson, stepfather Grailland Lawson, and another teen, Shanoa Allen, 17, were not at home.
Five people were at home at 25 Winter St.: Barbara Anderson, 34; Charmaine Anderson, 19; Tony Small, 43; Tony Small Jr., 6, and Sean Craft, 18.
They and the two teens at 27 Winter St. escaped unharmed.
Seven firefighters were hurt, however, and six of them were taken to Manchester Memorial Hospital, Bycholski said. The most serious injuries happened when two firefighters slipped on ice. The six who were taken to the hospital were treated and released.
Bycholski said fire crews were on the scene within minutes of two 911 calls reporting the blaze and immediately sent in two search-and-rescue teams of three firefighters each looking for the girl.
She was found in the second-floor hallway of 27 Winter St. in cardiac arrest, he said. Medical crews started CPR on the girl and took her to Manchester Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Her mother, Asante Beckford of Hartford, was contacted and met firefighters at the hospital. She left her daughter at the home overnight so that Annett Allen-Lawson could take the child to day care today, Bycholski said.
Nine minutes elapsed between the time the first 911 call was received and firefighters pulled the girl from the two-family home two blocks from the downtown fire station, Bycholski said.
"We got there quick," Bycholski said. "If she could have been saved in that time, we would have saved her. We were as quick as we could possibly be."
After that, crews started to extinguish the blaze that had burst through several side windows even before the firefighters arrived on scene, Bycholski said.
About 45 minutes after crews started to fight the fire, they switched to a defensive approach, Bycholski said, removing all firefighters from the home to battle the blaze from the outside. Soon after that the roof collapsed into the attic.
Bycholski said a preliminary investigation indicated the fire started in the kitchen of 27 Winter St. when the 15-year-old boy, Kwandell Petersen, fell asleep while deep-frying hot dogs and watching a basketball game.
Denesha Petersen was upstairs with the 4-year old, he said. Denesha smelled smoke, went downstairs, and saw fire spreading up the wall and onto the ceiling of the kitchen.
She woke Kwandell and the two got out of the home as the fire rapidly moved into the walls, Bycholski said.
Fire Marshal Rudy Kissmann was on scene today, working with the state fire marshal's office to determine the official cause. As a matter of procedure in a fatal fire, the state attorney's office and local police also have been notified.
Bycholski said the home, owned by Christopher Saunders of 172 Eldridge St., is uninhabitable. The Red Cross is helping the displaced residents find shelter.
In the meantime, a crisis intervention team is debriefing firefighters and helping them to cope with the town's first fatal fire since 1996, when a bakery and nearby businesses were destroyed by an arson fire on Main Street.
Ironically, Bycholski said, the same fire hydrant, at Center and Winter streets, used to fight the bakery fire was used to fight today's blaze.
"The firefighters are devastated, the men and women of our department and the men and women of the mutual aid departments," Bycholski said.
Fire crews from the 8th Utilities District and East Hartford helped fight the blaze. The 8th District and the Bolton Fire Department provided fire coverage for the rest of the town. Off-duty members of the town Fire Department also were called in to help.
"You should never lose your life when you're 4 years old," Bycholski said. With town firefighters also serving as paramedics, "we see people die all the time. But not when they're 4 years old."
This is the town's sixth fire this year. In terms of property damage, it ranks with a fire on Charter Oak Street in January that was started by a candle. Both the Winter Street and Charter Oak Street houses were destroyed.
"Certainly, this was the most tragic in many years," Bycholski said.
Same hydrant used on the Town's last two fatal fires...IACOJ Agitator
Fightin' Da Man Since '78!
02-21-2004, 11:05 AM #10Good grief... how long would have taken to run back up stairs and grab the little girl... or take her with you to check out the smoke smell. I notice she had time to wake her brother up. I'm not a big fan of kids watching kids. Very sad.
02-21-2004, 12:12 PM #11
Questions Follow Girl's Death In House Fire
February 21, 2004
By CHRISTINE DEMPSEY, And JIM FARRELL Courant Staff Writers
MANCHESTER -- An angry Shante Kelley stood near the charred duplex where her 4-year-old daughter died early Friday and asked, "Why was everyone else able to get out?"
Brittney Beckford, who lives in Hartford but frequently stayed with relatives in Manchester, was killed by the blaze, which apparently started when her 15-year-old cousin fell asleep after deep-frying hot dogs on the kitchen stove.
"Everybody loved her," said Shanoa Allen, 17, another cousin who was not home when the fire started after midnight. "Now everybody's blaming themself."
According to fire officials, witnesses said that Brittney was seen screaming from a second-floor window, but then disappeared, apparently trying to get out on her own.
When she was found in a hallway on the second floor of the two-family house at 25-27 Winter St., she was in cardiac arrest, fire officials said. She was taken to Manchester Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Kelley's sister, Annette Allen-Lawson, lives at 27 Winter St. with her husband, Grailland Lawson, and their three children. Only the two youngest children - 15-year-old Kwandell Peterson and 12-year-old Denisha Peterson - were home with Brittney when the fire started, according to Robert Bycholski, acting chief of Manchester Fire-Rescue-EMS.
Bycholski said that Kwandell apparently fell asleep on a couch after he put the food on the stove. Denisha, who was upstairs, first smelled the smoke.
Rudy Kissmann, the town's fire marshal, said the fire started when the hot grease boiled over, igniting the back of the stove and kitchen wall.
Kissmann said that Kwandell and Denisha went upstairs to get water and tried to extinguish the fire in the kitchen; then tried to go back upstairs to save Brittney. They were driven back by intense heat and smoke.
Bycholski said that Charmaine Anderson, who lives in the other unit of the duplex, was among those who called to report the fire. Anderson and four other residents of 25 Winter St. escaped.
Bycholski said 41 firefighters and nine emergency vehicles fought the fire, which was not deemed under control until about 2:45 a.m.
Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries, including cuts and bruises. Six were taken to Manchester Memorial Hospital, where they were treated and released.
Kelley, who lives at 96 Magnolia St. in Hartford, was taken from her home to Manchester Memorial Hospital and then later to Winter Street, where displaced family members were crowded into a neighbor's home.
Kelley said she was upset that her sister - Annette - was out playing cards instead of at home Thursday night.
"I blame her," Kelley said.
Kelley also said she wanted to know why the Peterson children didn't get Brittney out of the house.
Michael Drake, an employee of The Courant who was on his way to pick up newspapers to deliver, said he saw the burning building just as people began to gather outside.
"Everybody was saying, `It's taking long for them to get here,' " Drake said, referring to firefighters.
Firefighters at department headquarters two blocks away were at the house four minutes and 20 seconds after receiving the first 911 call just after 12:41 a.m., officials said.
Bycholski said that two search and rescue units went in immediately after learning that a child was unaccounted for. They looked in two or three rooms before finding her on a floor near a bathroom door, he said.
Eventually, the fire grew so intense that all personnel were pulled from the building, Bycholski said. Shortly after that, the roof collapsed.
Bycholski said some of the firefighters who were first on the scene were replaced soon after the child was found.
He said crisis intervention personnel were asked to help the firefighters who might be affected by the girl's death.
Representatives of the Red Cross helped the displaced families.
The house, a white, two-story structure, is next to a Whole Donut shop. Bycholski said he asked the donut shop to "keep a tab" as tired and cold firefighters came in for coffee. By morning, when he asked how much he owed, Bycholski said the shop wouldn't take any money.
"They were very good to us," he said.
The fatality was the first from a fire in town since 1996, when a man died in the basement of a cake-decorating shop on Center Street, just a block from Winter Street.
The same fire hydrant at Winter and Center streets was used to fight both fires, according to Bycholski.IACOJ Agitator
Fightin' Da Man Since '78!
02-21-2004, 12:31 PM #12
From the Journal Inquirer:
Fatal Fire in Manchester Ruled Accidental
Smoke turned back teen’s rescue effort
By Christine Stuart, Journal Inquirer
MANCHESTER – The fire at 27 Winter St. Friday that killed a 4-year-old girl has been ruled accidental.
Fire Marshal Rudy Kissman said the fire was caused by a pot of grease left on the stove by Kwandell Petersen, 15, who fell asleep while deep-frying hot dogs and watching a basketball game.
The grease Petersen left on the electric stove was in the apartment of his mother, Annett Allen-Lawson and stepfather Grailland Lawson. It boiled over and ignited, Kissman said.
The fire burned so hot that when Kissman found the pot there was a hole in the bottom and it burned right into the stovetop with the hot dogs lying right next to it, he said.
“It takes 1,200 degrees to melt aluminum,” Kissman said.
The flames had already spread to the wall behind the stove and the ceiling when Kwandell’s sister, Denesha Petersen, 13, who was sleeping upstairs with the 4-year-old, Brittany Beckford of Hartford, had come downstairs and discovered the fire, Kissman said.
He said Denesha went into the room, woke her brother and thought she’d go back into the kitchen and douse the flames with water. But when she discovered she couldn’t get back into the kitchen because of the fire, she led the two upstairs.
Once upstairs, she discovered that all the lights were out because the fire had already spread into the walls, Kissman said.
She tried to get down to the bedroom where Beckford was screaming, but couldn’t get to her because of the smoke. She then turned and ran out of the house, across the street where she called 911 from a neighbor’s house, he said.
By the time the fire department arrived, moments later, the screams had stopped, but neighbors told firefighters that Beckford had been seen from the street in one of the front room windows on the second floor, though Kissman said he couldn’t confirm that.
When firefighters arrived they approached the fire through the front door, where they were met with flames, and first headed toward the stairs so they would be able to rescue Beckford, he said. The second line entered the house, helped wet the stairs, and then proceeded to the kitchen where the fire started.
Once upstairs firefighters were unable to find Beckford in the front two rooms, so then tried to use a thermal-imaging camera to find her, but Kissman said it was so hot that it didn’t work.
“A thermal-imaging camera detects heat and it was so hot that it just went white,” he said.
The firefighters then did a systematic search of the upstairs. At that point, one lieutenant said, “We’re not going down until we find her,” Kissman said.
After a search of the side bedrooms firefighters found Beckford in the bathroom and rushed her out, he said, as he fought back the tightness in his throat.
Beckford was taken to Manchester Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The second 911 call came from one of the neighbors next door, who arrived home shortly after the fire broke out about 12:45am, smelled smoke in his basement, Kissman said.
The five people home at 25 Winter St. escaped unharmed.
There were smoke detectors in both apartments.
According to housing authority records, 25 Winter St. passed an inspection last August, and 27 Winter St. passed an inspection last May. Both units it states had working smoke detectors located at the top of the basement stairs, in the first and second floor hallways, and in the attic.
But “whether they were working we don’t know,” he said.
There’s a lesson to be learned, Kissman said: “You cannot leave grease or warm up something on the stove and leave it unattended.”
He said his heart goes out to the family.
Well George, they had smoke detectors...unknown if they were working or not...IACOJ Agitator
Fightin' Da Man Since '78!
02-21-2004, 11:36 PM #13
Well George, they had smoke detectors...unknown if they were working or not...
- Join Date
- Jul 1999
- Flanders, NJ
This sounds like a nightmare. Like somebody said; Kids watching kids and making poor decisions. My 16 year olds do not use the stove at 12:45 AM.
This is an absolute tragedy.
02-22-2004, 12:08 AM #14The firefighters then did a systematic search of the upstairs. At that point, one lieutenant said, “We’re not going down until we find her,” Kissman said.
As for the smoke detectors, whether they worked or not that grease fire probably propagated so fast that they wouldn't have given them much warning anyway.
Agreed with the rest on the kids watching kids and the unsupervised use of a deep fryer.Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!
02-22-2004, 01:07 AM #15
- Join Date
- Apr 2002
- Worcester, MA.
I must say I do agree with all of the statements made here. Although motor33 though you and I may think of going back to get the little girl... odds are the other girl (who is only a little girl herself) wouldnt and didnt think of this. Personally I mean no offense by that because I myself am only 17...and I would have done as you said (either taken the girl with me or gone back upstairs to retrieve her)but that is just the way I am and I have been taught...Its sad to see someone, especially a young girl only 4 years old, perish when in all reality this definitely could have been avoided. Just my two cents...."Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for hs brothers".
Firefighter of the Future
"There's no use sending a FF to hell, he'd just try to put it out"
"We're the one's walking in when everyone else is running out"
02-22-2004, 02:35 AM #16It is sad, indeed. However, we teach kids to get out and stay out. This sounds like a very fast-moving fire. There might have been three children killed, instead of one.
I know plenty of you won't agree with me, and that's 100% OK with me. I knew there would be many would not agree with my first statement... so I'm not going to be surprised by anything anyone has to say. I'm just telling you what I think, for what it's worth. As a kid I would have still went back for her. I know it's probably wrong for me to expect everyone else to think that way.... but you know what... to hell with that. I'm sick of the "me myself and I" attitude in the world these days. When someone more helpless than you is entrusted into your care, you have a duty to do your best to keep them safe. Simply forgetting about them and fleeing for your own life is not a sufficient answer in my book. So, yeah, maybe I blame the girl for not going back after her... I blame the knuckle head who fell asleep frying hot dogs, and thier damn mom who was supposed to be watching the little one, but instead left her in the "care" of her own 2 lemmings. Like I said before, this child was not just a victim, she was made a victim, by other peoples actions and inactions. If she had been left in locked vehicle in the summer those responsable would be in jail.... but it's OK to just run out and leave her in a burning house because, "well, the house was on fire, so we can't blame anyone for making sure their own arse is out and safe."
Let me say in advance that I'm sorry if my views offend anyone. This whole thing just stinks to me. Maybe I just need to vent, as a father... who knows. But, let me say this... if there is ever a fire at my house, and me and one, or both of my little girls die as a result... you can cry for them, but don't waste tears on me, I was right where I wanted to be. I'd rather die trying to help, than to live a lifetime knowing I just ran out and saved myself.
So, flame on if you must.... but my opinion is just that, my opinion.
02-22-2004, 12:11 PM #17
- Join Date
- Apr 2002
motor33, I agree with you. People need to be held more accountable for their actions or inactions in this case. Maybe if they were we would'nt have so many tragedies like this. My heart goes out to the fire dept. and the family that has to deal with this needless death."Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death."
Gen. Omar Bradley
02-22-2004, 06:16 PM #18
I don't think I would expect MY 14 y/o to stay in a fire to look for a younger sibling.......... (If I even had one). I would want them to get out and stay out. It'd be one thing if they were right next to each other......... None of us were there to know what kind of conditions they were facing in the house.
I know if it was my kids........... (well, mine wouldn't be frying hotdogs or anything else without adult supervision) I would much rather have all of them get out if they can and stay out. I could handle 1 death much easier than having to deal with a second one who stayed in to look for the first.........
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