Two young children were overcome by smoke and seriously injured Friday in a row-house fire in the city before being rescued by firefighters.
Both were suffering from severe smoke inhalation when they were pulled from the home in the 1100 block of Pleasant St. in the city's Hilltop neighborhood, said Cpl. Peter Small of New Castle County paramedics. Neither had significant burns, he said.
The injured children — a 3-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy — were taken by ambulance to Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Rockland. The boy later was transferred to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he was reported in critical condition Friday night, according to Wilmington Fire Department Chief Michael Harris. The girl was in serious but stable condition at A.I., Harris said.
Small said the girl was in respiratory arrest at the scene but paramedics were able to restore her breathing en route to the hospital.
Other occupants in the home got out safely and no firefighters were injured during the rescue, said Al Huelsenbeck, deputy chief of operations for the Wilmington Fire Department.
Neighbor Christopher Charles, 27, tried to enter the house, but was overcome by smoke. Witnesses said Charles and another man then scaled the front wall of the brick row home.
Wilmington police Officers Gerald Connor and Michael Rinehart were among the first on the scene and entered the home, but they encountered heavy smoke and could not make it to the second floor, Sgt. Thomas Ragonese said.
Two firefighters, Lt. Erick Haley and senior firefighter Neil Skinner, went upstairs and rescued the children, Huelsenbeck said.
News release from Wilmington Fire Department:
NEWS RELEASE: TWO CHILDREN PULLED FROM HOUSE FIRE
LOCATION: 1100 BLOCK OF PLEASANT STREET
DATE: DECEMBER 9, 2011
TIME: 12:20 HOURS
Wilmington firefighters on the A-Platoon were dispatched to the above address for a report of a house on fire with two children still trapped inside and neighbors courageously attempting to rescue the two children.
The first arriving units were faced with a two-story middle-of-the-row home with heavy smoke coming from the second floor windows and fire venting from the rear.
Firefighters aggressively began search and rescue efforts in the burning home. The rapid search of members from Tower-2-A, Lieutenant Eric Haley and Senior Firefighter Cornelius Skinner resulted with two small children being rescued from the intense heat and smoke conditions. Both children required resuscitation on scene from medical crews; they were quickly transported to A. I. DuPont Hospital and are listed “In Critical Condition”.
The fire was located in the rear second floor bedroom and extinguished. The fire was placed under control at 12:50 hours.
The Wilmington Fire Marshal’s Office responded to investigate the blaze. Delmarva Power responded and secured the utilities to the home. The Department of Licenses & Inspections also responded to assist at the scene. The fire is under investigation
The American Red Cross was contacted to provide relocation and other assistance to two adults and two other children that lived at this address.