Girl dies after being pulled from burning home

Posted: 04/09/13 at 12:05 am EDT      Last Updated: 04/11/13 at 10:37 am EDT

GLOUCESTER, Mass. (WHDH) -- An overnight fire claimed the life of a 15-year-old special needs girl, despite the rescue by a firefighter who happened to be a family friend.

“Everybody wanted to see her pull through,” said John Lefavour, a neighbor. “I’m sorry she didn’t.”

The fire broke out around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at 36 Summer Street in Gloucester.

“As a community, not just a fire department, we grieve for her passing and our condolences go out to her family,” said Dep. Chief Stephen Aiello of the Gloucester fire department.

Jonathan Sanger, the fireman who carried the girl out of the apartment, knew her. He used to live across the street. She inhaled toxic smoke and passed out in her bedroom.

“I ended up finding her just inside the bedroom at the end of the hall,” said Sanger. “Seems like an eternity, but it was all of four minutes by the time we got in there and got her out.”

Officials determined the fire was accidental and was caused by combustibles coming in contact with a lamp.

The fire started in the victim’s older brother’s second-floor bedroom. The victim was in the adjacent bedroom at the time of the fire and her older brother, 17, was downstairs watching television with their mother. He tried to get upstairs to save his sister, but couldn’t because of the thick, black smoke.

“There was a foam mattress and other combustibles that produced a heavy amount of smoke that prevented her from getting out into the hallway and escaping the building,” said Aiello.

Doctors treated the boy for smoke inhalation. He was released from the hospital, but his sister breathed in too much and died.

“Sad that she’s gone. It’s not a nice feeling to know that. She was really a nice kid,” said Lefavour.

Fire officials believe some smoke detectors hooked up to electricity on the third floor were working, but others closer to the fire scene on the second floor were battery operated and weren’t working.

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