Local News

Raleigh infant dies days after fire ravages apartment

Posted March 13, 2011
Updated March 14, 2011

— A Raleigh mother whose apartment caught fire while she, her four children and the children's father were inside said she thinks complications from the fire may have contributed to the death of her infant son less than a week later. 

Practically everything the Yates family owned was destroyed when fire ripped through an apartment building at 211 Park Ave. Wednesday. 
The blaze displaced all 15 residents of the building, including Whitney Bass, Jonathan Yates and the couple's four children, who are being assisted by the Red Cross.
According to a report released by the Raleigh Fire Department, Yates was making breakfast Wednesday when the pan caught fire and the flames spread through the kitchen. The report states that Yates attempted to put out the fire, but when he realized it was getting worse, he got his family out of the building quickly.
But Bass said they couldn't get out right away. She said the bedroom doorknob had broken off the night before and she was trapped inside with her children.
"As we were stuck in the room, it was filling up with smoke," she said. "My husband had to bust the door down to get us out."
Paramedics spent about an hour checking out the children, including 2-month-old Elijah, Bass said.
The young mother was relieved when none of the children were taken to the hospital.
"I have my four angels still here and I have my family. It could have been a different story," she said.
But Friday around midnight, the story took a turn for the worse. Bass woke up to find something wrong with baby Elijah.
"He wasn't breathing. He had white stuff coming out of his nose," she said. 
A little more than an hour later, Elijah was pronounced dead.
Bass questions whether the fire contributed to his death.
"It's all of a sudden. He was a fine healthy baby. Nothing was wrong with him, no problems. No problems at birth. Nothing was wrong with him," she said.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill confirmed that an autopsy was performed to determine how the child died, but said results wouldn't be available for a few months.
In the mean time, Bass is trying to find the money to afford a burial for her baby.
"I just feel empty that a part of me is not here anymore, and I don't know why," she said. "It just hurts so bad."
Montlawn Funeral Home on South Wilmington Street in Raleigh is covering some of the funeral costs, Bass said, but the family still needs help. 
The Red Cross plans to help them find housing next month.

This story is closed for comments.

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  • Bnk1024 Mar 14, 2011

    For those who want to insist that the paramedics or parents were at fault because they weren't seen at the ER or the doctor. Unless they plan on taking legal action, nothing can be done; whether it could have been prevented or not. The focus right now needs to be on the family healing physically and emotionally. That's the last thing ANYONE wants to hear after losing a family member, especially a child. My condolences go out to the family. May God watch over you all.

  • ricardohawkins Mar 14, 2011

    Yo my heart goes out to you all I will pray for you all and GOD has him now so he'll be ok now.

  • same ole story Mar 14, 2011

    As we were stuck in the room, it was filling up with smoke," she said. "My husband had to bust the door down to get us out."
    The young mother was relieved when none of the children were taken to the hospital.
    Bass questions whether the fire contributed to his death.
    From the desk of "You will not believe this STUFF actually happens...." You didn't see any reason to have your kids checked out by a REAL doctor????? THEY WERE JUST IN A HOUSE FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!! FILLING UP WITH SMOKE!!!!!!!!!!!

  • boatmonkey82 Mar 14, 2011

    where can we donate ? montlawn ?

  • mpheels Mar 14, 2011

    OpenM1nd - white frothy sputum is a classic symptom smoke inhalation and it shouldn't be surprising for a sleeping infant to have sputum coming out of his nose if he is suffering from smoke inhalation.

  • OpenM1nd Mar 14, 2011

    "He had white stuff coming out of his nose"

    That reads like a symptom of a head injury.

  • dontgetmestarted Mar 14, 2011

    My thoughts and prayers are with this family. May you find comfort in God's loving arms. Heaven has another little angel to watch over us. RIP little one.

  • raliegh_nc_florist Mar 14, 2011

    My Prayers are with all the people affected by the fire and especially with the family of the infant. This is such a shame.

  • wildcat Mar 14, 2011

    My condolences the family and friends. May God continue to comfort all of you.

  • daisy Mar 14, 2011

    I am so sad for this family's loss. Such a precious baby gone too soon.