Thursday, April 26, 2001

Child badly hurt in fire

Smoke filled room when firefighters found his crib

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A 22-month-old North Fairmount boy scooped out of his crib by firefighters remained in critical condition Wednesday night after breathing smoke from a fire caused by children playing with a lighter.

[photo] Her arms cut after breaking through a window, Kim Morgan is taken to an ambulance from the Beekman Street house where she had been watching four young children.
(Glenn Hartong photos)
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        Firefighters couldn't see Devontrell Hill through the heavy smoke that filled the Beekman Street house, but they heard him whimpering. They felt around the bedroom with their hands until they found him in his bed.

        “We heard just a little bit of whimpering,” said Lt. Jon Miller, “just enough so we could figure out where he was.”

        Devontrell, three other young children and 17-year-old Andre Lloyd were in the house with a baby sitter when the fire broke out about 9:30 a.m., District 3 Fire Chief Glenn Coleman said.

        The sitter, Kim Morgan, 24, was taken to University Hospital after cutting her arms as she escaped. Devontrell was taken to Children's Hospital.

        Some of the occupants tried to put the fire out before calling for help, investigator Capt. Dan Rottmueller said. Smoke detectors worked.

[photo] For four hours, crews fought the fire Wednesday at 2623 Beekman St.
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        Neighbor Alethia Finley said Ms. Morgan was taking care of Devontrell and two siblings — 3-year-old Quez Hill and 6-month-old Zarial Biggers — because their mother, Kalisha Hill, was in Christ Hospital recovering from surgery. Ms. Morgan also had her own child, 3-year-old Charles Lattimore, with her when the fire broke out.

        “God bless her,” Ms. Finley said of Ms. Hill. “She needs to stay strong for her babies.”

        The woman and her children had moved into the house recently, Ms. Finley said, after living in an apartment across the street.

        Firefighters stayed on the scene four hours. Damage was estimated at $40,000. A neighboring house sustained $1,000 damage from heat. .

        Fire authorities said they believe the fire was started by at least one of the children playing with a lighter.


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