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Pensacola fire that killed one child and injured two others under investigation

City of Pensacola

Pensacola Mayor D.C. Reeves opened his weekly news conference with a brief update onthe fatal Friday afternoon fire that resulted in the death of one child and injured two others.

“It’s certainly an emotional day for the city when a child is lost,” he said reiterating his initial response.

“I don’t have the cause, it’s still under investigation,” said Pensacola Fire Chief Ginny Cranor in reference to the fire in the 700 block of Zarragossa Street near downtown Pensacola.

Areport by WEAR TV indicated that a grandfather to the children was on scene, but Cranor said that when fire crews arrived, there were no adults with the children in the burning building.

The location of adults at the time of the fire is expected to be a part of the probe, according to Pensacola Police Chief Eric Randall.

“The placement of where everybody was, that’s still part of the ongoing investigation,” said Randall. “Working through the (Florida) Bureau of Fire, Arson and Explosives Investigations to kind of collaborate them on the exact placement of who was where.”

“Although a child was lost, there are two siblings that are still receiving medical care and are still in serious condition, so our prayers and thoughts are with them,” said Cranor, before talking about the quick action of first responders.

When the fire call went out, dispatch reported that three children trapped inside the home.

“The first child that came out of the home, a police officer on patrol was able to assist the child near the door and bring the child out of the home,” said Cranor of the rescue effort.

Firefighters arriving on scene within five minutes entered the home to look for the other two children.

“The second child, when fire crews arrived, one of our firefighters, without a fire hose line, was able to get his mask on quickly and get inside of the home and rescue that child, “ Cranor said. “And that 30 seconds made a difference.”

To highlight the importance of the quick response, the fire chief described just how hot and dangerous a fire can get in a short amount of time. After just two minutes, she said the temperature at the floor is 200 degrees, while the temperature at a higher level is 600 degrees.

“This is why we tell children in school to crawl and to have working smoke alarms,” she explained.

One of the children was pronounced deceased on scene. The other two children were resuscitated on scene and transported by EMS. Their names and ages have not been released by officials.

“This is a heroic response from, not only the community, but from our first responders that took the call, got there and immediately went into the mod of survival and trying to save a life,” added Chief Randall.

He said one aspect of the quick transport was the police escort provided for the ambulance.

“The way we cleared intersections to have unfettered access to get to the local hospital. So that could have played a very important part in the timeliness to getting to the emergency care that they needed.”

Sandra Averhart has been News Director at WUWF since 1996. Her first job in broadcasting was with (then) Pensacola radio station WOWW107-FM, where she worked 11 years. Sandra, who is a native of Pensacola, earned her B.S. in Communication from Florida State University.