GREENBURGH (The Journal News)— Frantic family members who fled from a burning Elmsford house late Saturday tried to re-enter to search for a missing toddler visiting from Barbados — but were pushed back by the conflagration.
Firefighters, who were told the 2-year-old boy was on the second floor at 107 Sears Ave., also desperately tried to find the boy until the roof caved in on them.
He remained unaccounted for until his body was found hours later in the attic.
“Several people were screaming that there was a baby still on the second floor, so that’s where we went — the second floor,” said Stephen Woehrle, assistant chief of the Elmsford Fire Department. “We didn’t realize there was a bedroom in the attic.”
The boy’s mother was hospitalized at Westchester Medical Center with second-degree burns and three other adults suffered from smoke inhalation, police and fire officials said.
An autopsy will be performed, police said. The boy’s name was not released pending family notification.
Dozens of firefighters and police officers responded to the fire about 10 p.m., arriving to find flames shooting through the roof as several family members were trying to find the boy, Greenburgh police said.
The house was home to a single family but friends and extended family members — including the woman, her 2-year-old son and another person visiting from Barbados — were in the house at the time the fire broke out, officials and a family friend said.
The cause of the fire, which was extinguished by 11:50 p.m. Saturday, was not known. Greenburgh police, the Westchester County Cause and Origin team and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office are investigating.
Greenburgh police Sgt. Robert Whiting said investigators were planning to speak with the boy’s mother. Police did not give her identity Sunday.
Woehrle said the fire was Elmsford’s first fatal one in about 35 years.
“It’s a tragedy. The guys on the scene were very well shaken on this,” he said.
The fire quickly tore through the trim, two-story structure with beige siding and a front awning.
(Photo and story by The Journal News)