Updated 10/19/2012 05:37 PM
Fire Chief: Young girl has died following house fire
The City of Albany is mourning the loss of a three-year-old girl after a fire broke out in her home in Albany. It happened just before noon Wednesday on Benson Street. Lori Chung has been following this story and joined us with more.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- “There’s always cops around and there’s fights that happen and stuff, but never something like this,” said Whitney Sharpe.
Neighbors on Benson Street in Albany are sad to hear that the little girl they’d been rooting for since she was pulled from this burning home Wednesday succumbed to her injuries. Family members tell us her mother used the oven to keep the apartment warm because there was no working heat.
“I can’t tell you anything for now, they’re still doing their investigation,” said one of the men seen talking with fire investigators and inspectors Friday.
Marasia Vanness, 22, lived in the three bedroom apartment with her daughter Amari, 3, and four other children. Relatives say she had been asking the landlord to fix the heat but that he refused. A man at the house who told us he goes by the name “Tee” says his cousin owns the building and says the heat was just fine.
“Everything was on and that’s part of the investigation and that’s all I’ll support, everything was on,” he said.
Officials say the fire was caused by a child playing with incense. According to reports, Amari may have lit the incense on the stove while her mother and siblings were napping and put it on the sofa.
“You know, you can never be too careful even with things that seem safe” said Sharpe.
Family members are now making funeral arrangements for little Amari, while officials and neighbors agree her life was taken too soon.
“When you lose a young life, it’s a tragedy,” said Mayor Jerry Jennings. “And our condolences go out to the family.”