Updated 07/09/2010 05:50 PM
Officials: Child intentionally set fire on McClellan Street
The fire that broke out Wednesday morning on McClellan Street in Schenectady was intentionally set. Police and fire officials said a child set the fire while making breakfast, when it spread, killing his 2-year-old sister. Our Erin Connolly has the details.
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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- "The consequences of the actions of the individual we do not believe were intended at all," said Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett.
It might not have been the child's intent to hurt someone, but Wednesday's fire on McClellan Street claimed the life of 2-year-old Sylvia Noxon.
"It's very taxing on the community, the public, it's very taxing on our firefighters," said Fire Chief Bob Farstad. "We're all fathers, or mothers, and we all have children. I know that our firefighters went home the next day and hugged their children. That day I hugged my grandchildren. And they take it to heart. It hurts.
Sylvia's 4-year-old sister Julia Sharkey and their 65-year-old grandmother Charlene Parker remain hospitalized after the fire.
Fire officials said the child was making breakfast when he purposefully set a pancake box on fire. He then went to a bedroom where he lit up the sheets and comforter.
Farstad said, "The bedding materials started on fire. The child then took the bedding materials and put them into a corner of that bedroom, and as the fire ensued, he then exited the building."
Also able to exit, the children's mother's boyfriend, Raymond Batease. Apparently all in the house were sleeping when the fire broke out. Two smoke detectors and one carbon monoxide detector were not working.
"Obviously it would give some amount of notice, quick notice that you have an event in your building, and if you hear it and you know how to act, you could possibly escape," said Farstad.
As for the child, he cannot be prosecuted as an adult in criminal court. Any future action must be taken by county agencies that deal with juveniles.
"There are many reasons that children set fires," said Farstad. "I don't know want to go into any of those today, but it is a problem and we need to deal with it."
Julia Sharkey and Charlene Parker remain in critical condition. Two firefighters who were also injured are both doing okay.