Community gathers to mourn child victim of West End apartment fire

“Everybody around here took care of that little boy.”
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:39 AM EST
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Family, friends and West End community members came together for an impromptu vigil Monday evening, hours after an apartment fire led to the death of a young child.

Those gathered brought stuffed animals and balloons. The heartbreaking tributes now sit arrayed on the sidewalk beside dozens of candles that were briefly lit but refused to keep kindled in the wind.

Firefighters filled the same sidewalk hours before as they worked to put out the blaze.

Reports of the fire came in around 2:30 p.m. Monday. The 3-year-old boy was pulled from the apartment and rushed to the hospital, where he later died.

A woman was also rescued from the apartment.

The Cincinnati Fire Department says the boy was being watched by his grandmother at the time of the fire.

Barbara McClury, a neighbor, knows both of them.

“She took care of that little boy,” McClury said. “That’s her grandson. She loved her grandson. She took care of him. She fed him. She made sure everything was ok for him. Everybody around here took care of that little boy.”

Sheila Howell, also a neighbor, affirms the sentiment.

“She was always with him,” Howell said. “Very committed to taking care of him. Every time I saw her, he was with her, riding his tricycle ahead of her.”

Firefighters think the child was lighting incense when the couch caught on fire, but the cause remains under investigation.

“It appears to be accidental,” said Roy Winston with CFD. “We will continue our investigation, and then the police are on scene doing a more thorough investigation to see what the outcome will be.”

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