Baby boy dies in Monmouth house fire, two firefighters hurt in rescue attempt

Monmouth house fire - KATU photo by reporter Keaton Thomas

MONMOUTH, Ore. – A baby boy died early Wednesday morning in a house fire in Monmouth, officials with Polk County Fire District No. 1 said.

Two firefighters were injured while trying to rescue the infant.

Firefighters arrived at the home on N Catron Street about 2 a.m. to find that a mother and two of her kids made it out of the burning home safely, but a baby boy was still inside.

"From that point on they went into rescue mode," Deputy Chief Neal Olson said about the firefighters.

Firefighters went to the back of the home where they were told the baby was, according to Olson.

"He attempted to enter the building and start a search, but the heat was too tremendous for him to even make entry," said the deputy chief.

Firefighters found the baby boy's body after the fire was put out.

"I couldn't imagine what it is like to lose a child, our thoughts and prayers are with the family," said Kady Forbes, a new neighbor who just moved in across the street.

Olson says the initial call came in as a tree fire, but was quickly upgraded to a structure fire.

Forbes says she woke up to an already intensely burning fire early in the morning. She says her husband took the fire hose and sprayed down the lawns and roofs of surrounding homes to keep it from spreading.

Isaac McCormick also lives across the street. He didn't know about the boy's death until later in the morning.

"It's sad, I have a seven-month-old child - a daughter - she's inside, that was the first thing I thought of, what if that was my child," said McCormick. "They lost everything. They lost more than everything, they lost their child."

The home is considered a total loss. Olson says an electrical fault caused the fire. None of the surrounding homes were burned.

Olson says intense heat from the fire burned the faces of two firefighters. One was treated locally, the other was taken to a burn center in Portland. The deputy chief says both are expected to be okay.

"With a life threat like we had last night, our firefighters, a lot of them are parents, were sympathetic to that and were willing to risk a lot more to get in there and save the young boy," said Olson.

Polk County Fire Dist. No. 1 is working with the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office and Monmouth Police to investigate the fire.

A GoFundMe has been created to help the family recover from the fire.

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