MOUNT OLIVER (KDKA) — A child with special needs has died after becoming trapped in a house fire in Mount Oliver on Wednesday afternoon.
The blaze was first reported around 4:40 p.m. in the 300 block of Anthony Street.
It’s believed the victim was autistic and unable to speak. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office identifies the boy as 5-year-old Aiden Moore.
Devastated neighbors lined the street outside the house.
“Sad day,” said Cory Peacock, a man who lives in the neighborhood. “I heard that a child passed. It’s horrible, any parent that’s got to bury a child. I wish them the best of luck.”
“It’s real bad,” said Sherman Prince, a witness to the fire. “A little boy, I don’t even know what to say. It’s just a shame.”
People who live nearby say they could hear the boy’s screams. Both neighbors and first responders made attempts to try and rescue the boy, but the flames and smoke were just too intense.
“I heard the kid crying, but I wasn’t able to get up in there. We tried the side window. Tried to get him to come to the window, he wouldn’t come to the window. We tried the best we could,” said one neighbor who tried to help the boy escape.
“We were just trying to bust out the windows, open the door,” said another neighbor. “The two men, our husbands, tried to get in, but the floor collapsed. And we wouldn’t allow them to go in.”
Many first responders tried to rescue the little boy, too. As a result, many suffered smoke inhalation. At least one was taken to the hospital. They’ll all be treated for trauma.
“The medics units on scene are assisting the local responders later this evening with critical incident stress debriefing,” said Allegheny County Emergency Services Chief Matt Brown.
Meanwhile, neighbors are trying to cope with the image of the 5-year-old’s body being pulled from the charred home.
“They brought him out the window. It’s something you don’t want to see,” a neighbor said.
It’s believed two other children and the boy’s mother all escaped from the flames.
Two adjoining homes received minor fire damage.
Allegheny County Police say the fire is believed to have started as a grease fire.