Firefighters say it is always hard to lose someone in a fire adding, when it's a child it really hits them in the heart.
A 10-year-old girl died in a fire after becoming trapped inside her burning family home on Treasure Island early this morning, an assistant fire chief said.
Fire crews responded to multiple reports of a fire at a two-story townhouse at 1212 Mariner Drive around 12:30 a.m., said Assistant Chief David Franklin. Crews arriving on the scene saw the home fully engulfed in flames, with fire shooting out of windows and doors.
While en route to the home and as they got on scene, fire personnel learned that there was a child still trapped inside the home.
The girl's parents and three siblings had safely escaped the fire, and the girl's father had attempted unsuccessfully to reenter the home and find her, Franklin said.
Firefighters aggressively attacked the blaze from inside the building and attempted to locate the girl. Following reports that she was on the second floor, firefighters inside the home attempted to reach her but found that the staircase had burned away.
Firefighters then mounted a ladder and attempted to enter the second floor through a window.
One firefighter got a leg stuck as part of the floor gave way and another who attempted to reach the home from a neighboring apartment fell one story as the floor collapsed completely,Franklin said. Both were treated for minor injuries.
Firefighters continued to battle the blaze and were able to bring it under control in about an hour. However, once they found the girl trapped inside, she was dead, the assistant chief said. The home was destroyed by the fire, displacing the remaining five family members.
The American Red Cross responded to help the family find housing. The fire also heavily damaged a neighboring townhouse. It is unclear how many residents from that home were displaced. Franklin said an investigation into what sparked the blaze is underway and that there is nothing to indicate the fire was set purposely.
The assistant chief said the tragedy serves as a reminder of the importance of making sure that a home not only has working smoke detectors, but that residents have a fire escape plan and an outside meeting point in the event of a fire.
"If you determine there is a fire in your house or you see a fire start, the best thing people can do is get their family out of the house and call 911. Do not try to make reentry and do not try to put fire out yourself," he said.