Father, Sons Killed In Brooklyn Fire

7 Online - November 19, 2009

by Jim Dolan

CROWN HEIGHTS (WABC) -- When firefighters arrived on the scene, they charged into the burning building and pulled out the lifeless bodies of a father, his 2-year-old son and 1-year-old son.

They tried to revive them on the sidewalk in the Crown Heights section as neighbors watched. It was too late, and now everyone is asking whether precious moments lost right at the beginning might have cost three people their lives.

When the fire was finally down and the smoke had cleared, the tragedy was lost on no one, least of all the witnesses.

"There was a young boy on the floor. They tried to revive him. They couldn't. There was his father on the floor also, but it was too late," said Jasmin Ramos. "I knew he wasn't going to make it because they were administering CPR on him and he was not coming out of it," Sheila Evans said.

Much of a family died here today. Two young children and their father are gone.

"Imagine coming home from work and this is what you got to hear. Your babies are gone. Your husband or your man is gone. It's devastating. It's really hurtful," said Miss Watkins.

Some say it all could have been prevented if the fire department had been directed to go to the right address. The delay cost precious minutes and maybe three lives.

"Life and death. Fire grows exponentially. A room gets fully involved in four minutes. Somebody can be saved when they get there in three minutes, but not when they show up on a scene over seven and a half minutes later," said firefighter Jim Slevin.

Why were the firefighters delayed? The 911 call that they received only provided a general location, not a precise address.

"(Firefighters) were dispatched based on information from two 911 callers - both via cell phones - reporting a fire in the vicinity of Rogers Avenue and Prospect Avenue. Units arrived at that location in just over 3 minutes - and learned upon their arrival at the callers' location that the fire was around the corner. The units immediately proceeded to that location and initiated fire rescue and suppression operations. They did not respond to a wrong address. They responded to the location provided by both calls to 911." Said Frank Gribbon, FDNY Spokesperson

They will debate and investigate what went wrong, but it's all too late for the three who died in the fire.

The victims were identified as Myrtel Jean, 42, Fabrice Jean, 2, and Sebastian Jean, 1.