Local News

Siblings in critical condition after Garner apartment fire

Posted August 22, 2009 7:24 a.m. EDT
Updated August 25, 2009 5:25 p.m. EDT

— Two Garner children were in critical condition after getting burned in a duplex apartment fire at 901-B Timber Drive around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Their father, Thomas E. Smith, 29, escaped and was not injured, firefighters said.

“He (the father) was like, ‘Oh my God, my kids, my kids, my kids are up there,’” neighbor Kathryn Gates said.

Gates said she called 911 after hearing the father's screams.

“I have nine grandchildren and I just could not imagine. I really couldn't,” Gates said.

When crews arrived, they saw heavy flames coming off the front porch and the front windows on the first story. The living room and kitchen were also ablaze. The entire first floor was gutted, firefighters said.

A Garner EMS crew took Michael Smith, 3, and his sister, Jasmine Smith, 2, to WakeMed.

They were later transferred to the UNC Hospitals where they were listed in critical condition Saturday evening, hospital officials said.

EMS crews said Michael was not breathing when they arrived at the house. However, they were able to revive him. The siblings both suffered burns over 20 percent of their bodies, smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion, according to their mother.

The fire also caused damage to the other side of the duplex. Residents of 901-A escaped the flames and were not injured.

An investigation by the Wake County Fire Marshal's office found that the fire originated in the kitchen and appeared to be accidental.

Fire officials said they estimate the apartment sustained about $40,000 to $50,000 worth of damage.