Cause of Thursday's fatal Londonderry fire, victim's identity released
By APRIL GUILMET Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY - A 17-month old boy died of smoke inhalation during an accidental fire in Whispering Pines mobile home park on Thursday afternoon, State Fire Marshal William Degnan said Friday.
Following an autopsy at the New Hampshire Medical Examiner's office earlier Friday, the victim was identified as Garrett Grice.
Shortly before 1 p.m. on Thursday, the Londonderry Fire Department responded to reports of a mobile home engulfed in flames at 17 Norwich Place.
The toddler was killed when an unattended cooking fire set a mobile home ablaze inside the Londonderry section of the park, which sits upon the Derry town line.
Degnan said it's believed the fire began when a child in the home turned on a burner on the stove, causing cooking oil on top of the range to ignite. Unaware that the child's mother had turned on the stove burner, the mother left the residence for few minutes to see a relative living across the street. Garrett is believed to have been sleeping in his crib in a nearby bedroom when the fire occurred.
"The fire developed quickly, and despite rescue attempts by the child's mother, neighbors and the fire department, the child died of smoke inhalation," Degnan said.
The firefighters got the unconscious child out of the building and into a waiting ambulance, though Garrett died shortly after arriving at Parkland Medical Center in Derry.
The boy's mother and a sibling, who escaped the blaze through a broken window, were also taken to the Derry hospital where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries and later released, according to Londonderry Fire officials.
Unattended cooking is one of the leading causes of fire deaths, Degnan said. People should never leave food cooking on the stove or leave an oven unattended, particularly when children are present.
"Fires develop quickly and you may have only minutes to escape a fire in your home," Degnan said.