Burned boys transferred to Augusta burn unit - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Burned boys transferred to Augusta burn unit

May 17, 2007

Albany -- Two little boys were badly burned in a house fire in South Albany Thursday morning.

Fire investigators believe a five year old ignited a mattress near the doorway, then he and a seven year old boy were trapped. They're hospitalized with second and third degree burns.

Jimmy Blackshear was returning from the store around seven this morning when he saw smoke pouring from his neighbors' house on Tremont Drive.

 "Smoke was coming out of the house, the windows were cracking, then the flames burst out , it was going up to the roof, it was a mess," said Blackshear.

Before he could reach the house, everyone landed in the yard.  "I saw the mother and two of the kids run out.  They were burnt real bad, their hair was burnt.  They were burnt pretty much down to their waist."

Blackshear called 911 and within minutes paramedics were tending to  seven year old Tavane Woods and five year old Dartagan Russ before fire fighters arrived. "They were pretty much third degree burns, their hair burned, their face burnt, their skin was hanging."  

"The fire started in the mattress of the bed the kids were sleeping in," said Chief James Carswell of the Albany Fire Dept.

Interviews with two other children in the house reveal five year old Dartagan started the fire in a mattress near the door trapping the boys.  The boys' mothers heard their screams and encouraged both to run through the flames.  Fire officials say the room was heating up and the boys chances of survival were decreasing.

"I thank God they're alive, thank God everybody got out of the house," said Blackshear.

The boys aren't out of harms way yet. "Just by the nature of the way fire burns that means hot gases were inhaled into the system and with all the soft tissue in the trachea and your lungs that kind of compounds the problem," said Carswell.

Both were transferred to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctor's Hospital in Augusta and the next 48 hours are critical.  The boys are in serious condition.

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