Miracle Rescue Saves Baby From N.J. House Fire

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS 2) — A fast-moving fire killed a little boy in New Jersey, but out of that tragedy emerged an incredible story of survival.

Firefighters rescued a toddler who was treading water in the basement of his burning home, reports CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.

There were mixed emotions in Trenton – grief over the death of a seven-year-old boy, mixed with gratitude that an 18-month-old little boy miraculously managed to survive.

Firefighters say it was nothing less than a miracle that 18-month-old Augustine Pope is still alive.

When a raging fire tore through the home at midnight, his mother, aunt, and two little girls who were also sleeping there managed to escape to safety.

Little Augustine, though, couldn’t get out, and intense flames kept firefighters from getting in.

When Augustine hadn’t been found two hours later, his family assumed the worst. Then, Battalion Chief John Gribbin peered into a basement window.

“I took my helmet off and stuck my head in the window, and I saw a young child looking at me, and he was up to his mouth in water,” Gribbin said.

He immediately flagged down a fellow firefighter, and continued to talk to the little boy.

“Twice, when I was talking to him, he went underwater,” Gribbin said. “The second time, when he came back up, I told him to hang onto the heater. ‘It’s right behind you,’ I said, ‘that big blue box, hang onto it,’ [and] he grabbed it.”

Rescuers were eventually able to pull Augustine to safety, but they later made a grisly discovery: the body of seven-year-old Aldrey Anderson, Augustine’s cousin, who never made it out. Family members are grief-stricken.

“He was very active. He always liked to be around people,” Aldrey’s cousin, Sweetee Sengbloh, said. “It’s very hard. It’s so hard.”

Family members insist they told firefighters that the child was trapped inside, and Augustine’s mother wonders why her child was spared, but her nephew couldn’t be saved.

“After two hours, if they can find my son, they should’ve took five minutes to go upstairs and find my nephew,” Mokonjay Sengbloh said.

Members of the Liberian community are meeting to discuss how they can help the family after the tragic fire.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

  • http://www.goodbabytips.com/2010/09/miracle-rescue-saves-baby-from-n-j-house-fire/ Miracle Rescue Saves Baby From N.J. House Fire | Good Baby Tips

    […] rescued a toddler who was treading water in the basement of his burning home. Read more on WCBS-TV New YorkHealth Canada issues baby hammock warning OTTAWA – Health Canada is warning against using […]

  • Auntie Vivian

    On the late night of such tragic accident my God had his hands on this family. My deepiest sympathy, thoughts and prayers goes out to the Sengbloh family (my faily through marriage). God has what you need keep your eyes lifted unto him.

  • Tee

    oh my 18mth old threading water & waving god bless him..he’s our next Phelps..as for his mom she seems very selfish..as a mother of 4 i would of died trying to get everyone of my kids out..

  • arash

    ya, you are right bob, i am agree with you, maybe another things happend there!!!!

  • bob

    Here’s the deal…tonight at midnight you go to a 3 family house you’ve never been in before, I blindfold you (because in a house fire you can see 1 foot in front of you) then I hide. Let’s see how long it takes you to find me and that’s without others trying to put out the fire. I could be hiding in a closet, a bathtub, under a bed, on a bed anywhere. How long do you think it would take you to find me in a multi family house?

  • Jtorres

    Instead of praising the firefighters for saving the toddler, all they can do is complain about them not saving ANOTHER child? I know it must be hard to lose even one child but, damn, I agree with bob. You expect the firefighters to be min-readers, is that it? And if it’s so easy, why didn’t YOU go in after the children YOU left behind?

  • Shaun

    Why the hell were the family members OUTSIDE while their children were INSIDE?? Since when is it up to the fire department to SAVE our children? Holy crap. I smell a lawsuit waiting to happen here. Coward parents!!!

    • Raine

      I was going to type that EXACT same thing. She ran her cowardly big mouth but outside when her family was still INSIDE and she’s going to gripe at the ppl that saved lives????? how did the fire start in the first place?

      she needs to put her crack pipe down, get out of the welfare line and CATCH A CLUE.

  • Bill Frewter

    Gee, thanks for saving the toddler…some people are just idiots!

  • bob

    F YOU you ungrateful little twits. The question is why did you run out without your 7 year old and 18 month old kids OR why were your kids left home alone?

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