Child Dies In Bear, Delaware House Fire

A 3-year-old boy died and three other people were injured when fire swept through a home Wednesday morning in the Salem Woods community in Bear.

The names of the victims were not released.

New Castle County police officers who were in the area when the blaze was reported at 10:32 a.m. were first to arrive at the two-story home in the 200 block of Arlene Court, police spokesman Cpl. Trinidad Navarro said.

Officers knocked down the front door before firefighters arrived, Navarro said.

Christiana firefighters found heavy smoke pouring from the residence and reports of two children trapped inside, Christiana Fire Company spokesman Thomas J. D'Alessandro III said.

Minquas of Newport, Minquadale, Wilmington Manor and Mill Creek fire companies also responded.

D'Alessandro said firefighters were unable to enter through the front door because of smoke and flames on the lower level. No victims were found on the first floor.

A 20-month-old girl was rescued near a window in the front of the house. When she was brought outside, she was in cardiac arrest, county paramedic spokeswoman Kelli Starr-Leach said.

The toddler was revived on the way to Christiana Hospital. She was later transferred to A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in critical condition.

Firefighters had to evacuate the home because of a partial collapse of the rear upper level, D'Alessandro said.

After the majority of the blaze was extinguished, firefighters made another search and discovered a 3-year-old boy upstairs.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An 18-year-old hearing-impaired man who lived in the home and a firefighter were treated for minor injuries. The 18-year-old was taken to the hospital, but the firefighter refused transport, D'Alessandro said.

Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Michael Chionchio said smoke detectors for the hearing impaired were in the home, but he did not know whether they were operable.

The cause and origin of the blaze remains under investigation, Chionchio said. Damage was estimated at $100,000.

The blaze was brought under control shortly after 11:42 a.m., D'Alessandro said.

Neighbors described a fire that consumed the house within minutes. Wanda Huhn, who lives at 209 Arlene Court, said she saw smoke billowing from the side of the house and called firefighters. She said the neighbors had lived in the house for only a few months.

The fire is the region's second fatal blaze this week. An elderly Wilmington woman died Sunday when fire swept through her East Side home.