A father and his 2 children killed in house fire in Watertown


    One of the children who did not make it out alive was found downstairs, while firefighters found the father and one of his other children upstairs (CNYCentral Photo).<p>{/p}

    The Watertown Fire Department confirmed a father and his two children were killed in an early-morning house fire in Watertown on Thursday.

    The call came around 1:30 a.m. bringing crews to Myrtle Avenue between Haley Street and Ward Street.

    According to Watertown Fire Chief Dale Herman, by the time crews arrived on scene smoke and flames could be seen billowing from the home.

    Six people were inside at the time of the fire. A teenage girl, was able to get out of the house and initiated the call for help, the fire chief said.

    "I can tell you in my 33 year career here, This is the worst fatal fire I've been involved with," said Chief Herman.

    One of the children who did not make it out alive was found downstairs, while firefighters found the father and one of his other children upstairs.

    Officials said the two other children who survived were also found upstairs. They were both taken to Upstate University Hospital along with the teenager who escaped the fire.

    A neighbor, Bill Bellis, told CNYCentral the girl came to his house for help.

    "We were awakened a young child pounding on the door, screaming frantically that there was a fire at her house and that her four sisters and dad were inside."

    Bellis said the girl was wearing shorts, a tank top and no shoes in the frigid temperatures. They brought her inside, his wife called 911 and he ran across the street to help.

    "I kicked in the front door, but with the super heated fumes and toxic stuff, I couldn't get in the front door," Bellis said. "I walked around the side and the back to see if I could see anybody trying to jump out. After that, I went back to the road and instantly, law enforcement was here."

    Investigators said Thursday the fire was concentrated around the stove. Pots were left on top, but it's unclear if the stove was on because the knobs were melted off.

    There were no working smoke detectors in the house, according to the chief. He said there was one in the basement and one on the second floor, but neither had batteries.

    Of the three injured individuals, one is said to be in stable condition, and the other two are "most-likely" in critical condition, according to the fire chief.

    Residents are asked to avoid the area of the 900 block of Myrtle Avenue while emergency crews complete their work and Public Works can restore the street to passable conditions.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation.





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