6-year-old dies in Williamstown fire

Published: Jul. 31, 2017 at 1:11 PM EDT
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A 6-year-old boy died in a house fire in Williamstown that injured two other adult relatives.

The fire is out but not before it took the life of 6-year-old Chance Martin. Thick smoke and heat prevented his grandfather, Kevin Lashomb, 44, from getting to the boy's bedroom.

"He made the attempt as best he could but he was overwhelmed by smoke. Just a tragedy all the way around," Vermont State Police Fire Investigator Det. Sgt. Todd Ambroz said.

The attempt left the grandfather with burns to his face and arms. We're told the boy's mother cut her hand trying to break the window. Firefighters managed to get to the child once they arrived just before 3:30 a.m.

"We were able to get through a back window and able to get him out and right into the ambulance," Williamstown Fire Chief William Graham said.

But it was too late to save the boy. According to the family, they found the boy unresponsive on his bed. Williamstown's fire chief says the boy was partially under the bed.

The grandfather is stable in the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. Other family members remained on scene late into the afternoon with friends. They told us they were too shaken to speak.

Even those trained to respond to scenes like this say it's haunting.

"Being a volunteer service, you don't get these every day, and so we train for it, we realize it can happen, and today it happened," Graham said.

"It's sad. I couldn't wish that on any parent, grandparent, any family member at all. It's just, it's devastating, so very sad all the way around," Ambroz said.

Investigators say there's no evidence of foul play. They say faulty electrical wiring likely sparked the fire in the living room. The family of eight awoke to that nightmare.

"They woke up to the smell of electrical smoke, opened up the door into their living room and realized it was full of fire," Graham said.

Williamstown's fire chief says the home did not have smoke detectors, noting the homeowners admitted as much. The family tells us they did have detectors and they say they heard the alarms, but only after they got out.

State Police spokespeople say they have not yet determined whether the family had detectors, and if they did, if those alarms worked.