Boy dies in Lee County house fire - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Boy dies in Lee County house fire

September 26, 2007

Lee County -- The State Fire Marshall's office says a candle knocked over on the first floor started the blaze. Flames were so intense fire fighters struggled to reach the 12-year-old trapped in a second story bedroom.

Late last night that young boy died.

Fire engines lined the streets just after 6:00 Tuesday evening in front of 111 Somerset Drive in Lee County.

It was here a short time earlier that 12-year-old Tony Long was trapped upstairs in a burning house filled with intense heat and smoke. An older sister ran for help.

"The original call advised that they had thought everyone had gotten out of the house. And then the call came as the fire department was on their way that there was someone trapped inside the house," said Col. Duane Sapp, Lee County Sheriff's Office.

Firefighters got the call around 5:10 p.m. Just minutes later, they arrived and began the rescue operation

"The on scene report was that we had heavy smoke, which was a bad indicator. They were able to man a line in and hold the fire off while the other fireman went in with a thermal imaging camera," said Lee County Fire Chief James Howell.

That rescue was extremely difficult because of the intense smoke and temperatures in the home that rose to an estimated 1,000º.

"Visibility was totally gone on the second floor. There was very little viability on the first floor. Upon arrival there was very heavy smoke from the top of the second floor to the bottom of the first floor," said Howell.

In the midst of intense heat and smoke, firefighters continued their search.

"They were able to locate him. They brought him out and turned him over to the paramedics. They took him to the hospital," said Howell.

Unfortunately, it was too late. Despite the efforts of fire fighters, the boy didn't survive.

"I can't say enough. Certainly, my heart felt sympathy goes out to the family," said Chief Howell.

A family that must now cope with the loss of a young son, who was tragically taken away.

Investigators think the fire started on the first floor of the home.

The Lee County Fire Department, Lee County Sheriff's Office, and the State Marshal's Office are working together to determine the cause.

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