Fire Chief: home alone baby rescue "atrocious" | News
TROY - A Troy woman was fighting for life Sunday night in a Westchester County hospital burn unit after rescuing a baby from her neighbor's burning apartment at the Griswold Heights Housing Complex overnight.
Authorities say the baby had been left alone but, as of Sunday night, no one seems to know for sure how long. It's a case that has veteran police and fire investigators scratching their heads in anger and disbelief.
After the fire had been extinguished in apartment number five of building five, Shanelle Burgos was holding the one year old child rescued from the burning apartment in her arms, telling News Channel 13 about the heroic actions taken by her friend.
"She ran in the house while the house was busting in flames," Burgos recalled. "She grabbed the playpen and saved her life.
Troy Fire Chief Tom Garrett says he's appalled that any parents could be so irresponsible.
"It was just a bad situation all the way around," Garrett said. "The baby was left unattended in this apartment. The adult was supposed to be supervising the child was in the apartment next door, that's what we were told."
What's also being told is that inside apartment number six, a woman heard the fire alarm and sprang into action.
"She ran into the house, because she knew the little girl was there sleeping and everybody was scared to go through the doors and she saved the little girl," Shanelle Burgos reiterated.
"She entered a residence fully ablaze and took it upon herself to rescue that child knowing what could come and unfortunately it did come," said Troy Police Captain John Cooney.
The rescuer's injuries included second degree burns to her hands, face, and neck. Cooney says luck and circumstance may have played an equal role in the child's survival.
"If the baby was in the standard crib, two to four feet above the floor, the baby most likely would have been exposed to heat and smoke from the fire at a much earlier stage and probably would have perished," he said.
The rescuer's condition was unavailable Sunday night, as she continues treatment at the Westchester County Medical Center burn unit. The baby sustained only minor burns.
Also, the American Red Cross assisted four people from the Griswold Heights fire.
Police continue their probe into the parents' whereabouts and actions prior to and during the fire. And the Troy Fire Department continues its search for the cause and origin.