Loved ones mourn loss of child in fire days before her 13th birthday
A fire that took place in Wakefield on Saturday took the life of a 12-year-old girl just days before she was set to turn 13.
The incident took place at 42-23 Boyd Ave. on Saturday afternoon. Neighbor Leslie Pagett says he saw a caregiver run out of the house screaming for help and refused to stand by idly.
“I was taking care of my leaves when the lady came down, shouting,” said Pagett. “I went up to the second-floor apartment, but the smoke was so intense, you couldn’t do anything… it’s tragic.”
The victim’s 7-year-old younger brother who also ran upstairs to try and help was injured in the fire. Fire officials say that it took 70 firefighters to subdue the flames.
New concerns have risen since the fire took place. A family friend tells News 12 that the victim, 12-year-old Skylar Michillian, used a wheelchair, making the rescue more challenging.
“One of the most important things to recognize is that an evacuation chair is something that every family should have if they have a member of the family who uses a wheelchair,” said Dr. Sharon McLennon-Weir, of the Center for Independence of the Disabled-New York.
McLennon-Weir says that evacuation chairs are designed to be lighter which helps during an emergency and says that in a two-story home, it’s recommended to keep an evacuation ladder on site as well.
Police are still investigating the cause of the fatal fire. The 7-year-old injured in the fire is expected to be OK.