Bushwick Fire That Killed 7-Year-Old Boy Under Investigation

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) —  A child is dead in a fire that engulfed a building in Brooklyn. Over 130 firefighters responded to the Sunday morning blaze which, officials say, began on the bottom floor and worked its way up.

LISTEN: WCBS 880 Reporter Mike Xirinachs reports…

Juan Gonzalez lives right next door to the Bushwick home where Joel Smith, 7, was found dead in a rear bedroom and a 34-year-old man who is believed to be his father was taken away in critical condition.

“Flames, the house looked like an oven, it was crazy,” he told 880’s Mike Xirinachs.

The fire quickly spread to a second adjacent home. Firefighters battled frigid conditions in extinguishing the blaze.

“He was a good kid. That’s all I say, he was a good kid,” one neighbor told CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano.

“He was a child. I have a 7-year-old granddaughter, should never happen,” said neighbor Miriam Cruz.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS Reporter Glenn Schuck reports…

In all, seven people were hurt and nearly a dozen residents were said to be displaced from their homes.

“Very tough fire this time of year with the wind and the cold weather,” said FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Lee. “Unfortunately, one young man succumbed to his injuries, but we saved a lot of lives.”

“When I opened the window the smoke was coming up into my window. I ran  back, same thing, there was just even more smoke coming,” said resident Rose Sistrunk. “I just grabbed my kids. We couldn’t see nothing, black.”

Little Evelyn Martinez, went to school with Smith. She left a candle and balloon for him after the tragedy.

Although, investigators say the fire is believed to be an accident, the cause is still under investigation.

You may leave your thoughts in our comments section below…


One Comment

  1. Martha Torres-Marg says:

    My prayers go out to the family and friends of this young man. I also pray for his teacher and classmates at P.S./I.S. 45k. It is a terrible loss. May our prayers give the family strenght during this difficult time. . I’m so sorry for their loss.

  2. DanTe says:

    Parents that will brave burning death to try to save their children. They must not be a Badger than. No limelight parades afterwards? Definitely not a Badger of Connecticut. And this real heroic and tragic story will only get one day, one tiny article coverage. No two day whining parade.

  3. Lynette Frost says:

    My prayers go out to the family in the loss of Joel. Continue to pray for his father who was severely burned and all the other people who where impacted by this fire.

  4. Marvel Washington says:

    Jezz can these lazy firefighters save a life,100 firefighters standing around takeing pics with there phones Bunch of overpaid losers

    1. yknipp says:

      Marvel Washington do you work for the P.D?

      1. Pray for the family says:

        I can’t wait for the inevitable “Cutbacks by the City caused this child’s Death” claim by the FD Unions. I’m sure the Fireman did the best they could to save thie child. I just hate it when Unions feel they need to place blame for tragedies that have happened for 100’s of years.

    2. Michael Mathless says:


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