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Three boys, including 1-year-old, killed in Herkimer fire

The fire chief has confirmed the deaths of three young boys at a house fire Friday morning in Herkimer.

Posted: Jan. 11, 2019 8:16 AM
Updated: Jan. 11, 2019 6:14 PM

HERKIMER, N.Y. -- The fire chief has confirmed the deaths of three young boys at a house fire Friday morning in Herkimer.

The fire started right around 6 a.m. Friday on East Steele Street, and was fully engulfed when crews arrived.

The chief says that two parents were awakened by the smoke detectors, and tried to get to the three children in the middle of the home, but were unsuccessful. They exited the home through the first floor windows, and then attempted to go back in, but again weren't able to reach them.

"We were told that they were awoken by a smoke detector but they couldn't get to the back part of the house. The parents made their exit out the front windows. And they tried coming back around to get in the other way, and couldn't," said Herkimer Fire Department Chief John Spanfelner. 

The remains of the youngest boy, a 1-year-old, were found first, and police K9s trained in recovery, searched and discovered the remains of the 6-year-old and 7-year-old amid the rubble.

"The 1-year-old was basically in the room the parents told us he was in. They found him in that area," Spanfelner said.

Officials did say that the boys were on the first floor, toward the middle of the home.

When NewsChannel 2 arrived at the scene, the back end of the home had collapsed.

Hours following the fire, the house was still smoldering.

Fire crews from Ilion, Little Falls and Herkimer responded to the fire, and other departments followed.

Firefighters also had to battle the frigid temperatures, and continued to rotate shifts to stay warm throughout the day.

"It's one of those things that'll probably hit later on, when the quiet time comes," the chief said when asked about the devastating fire. 

The cause of the fire, and reason as to why it spread so rapidly is under investigation.

A GoFundMe page has been created for the family of the victims. 

Many area businesses donated food and supplies to first responders at the scene throughout the day, including Birger King, McDonald's, Walmart, Fastrac, Nice n' Easy, Stewart's, Yetis Pizza, Salvatore's Pizza, Hannaford and Dollar General.

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