boston.com your connection to The Boston Globe

Blaze in Conn. kills 1 child, injures 2 others

Firefighters pull them from house

Connecticut State Police Detectives Paul Makuc (left) and Rich Cop photographed an air-conditioning unit on the second floor of a house in Meriden, Conn., after a fire Tuesday morning killed a 2-year-old boy and left two children critically burned. Connecticut State Police Detectives Paul Makuc (left) and Rich Cop photographed an air-conditioning unit on the second floor of a house in Meriden, Conn., after a fire Tuesday morning killed a 2-year-old boy and left two children critically burned. (Jessica Hill/Associated Press)

MERIDEN, Conn. -- Firefighters pulled four children from a burning three-story house where investigators said at least one smoke detector was not working. A 2-year-old boy died, and two children were critically burned.

Firefighters who arrived about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday at the three-story house on Franklin Street found children ages 2 to 5 inside, one on the first floor, two on the second floor, and a fourth on the third floor. A woman was standing in the doorway with two other children, Meriden Fire Marshal Steve Trella said.

Two firefighters were treated for burns. "It was a very close call for those guys," Tressa said.

Fire officials did not release a cause for the blaze or the names of those who lived in the house yesterday.

Trella said two children were taken to the burn unit of Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston.

At least one smoke detector in the house did not have batteries, but fire officials were trying to determine whether an alarm system in the house was only for burglaries or was also a fire alarm.

"It was big," said Susan Gregorie, a neighbor who was walking her German shepherd at the time. "The flames were just coming up so high. The smoke was filling up the whole road."

She said she and other neighbors tried to get into the house to help the children, but the flames and smoke were too intense.

Yesterday, she placed a teddy bear, flowers, and a small airplane on the steps of the house.

"They were real happy-go-lucky kids," she said, fighting back tears. "I didn't sleep all night."

SEARCH THE ARCHIVES