SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Schenectady Police say that a 32-year-old man and his three children were killed after a fire broke out in a two-story home on Hulett Street early Thursday morning.
Five people, including the four pronounced dead, were transported to Ellis Hospital after the fire broke out around 4 a.m. at 438 Hulett Street, Schenectady Fire Chief Michael DellaRocco said.
DellaRocco says three children were killed in the blaze; 11-month-old Donovan Duell, 2-year-old Michael Terry and 3-year-old Layah Terry. Their father, 32-year-old David Terry, was also killed. A fourth child, 5-year-old Safyre Terry, was air lifted to a burn center in Westchester and is listed in critical condition.
Schenectady Police say after "looking for" the mother of the children, Jennica Duell, throughout the morning she appeared at the police station to talk with law enforcement, as the cause of the fire is investigated.
The male victim's sister, Elizabeth Dolder, spoke with NEWS CENTER saying "we need prayers for Safyre." A make-shift memorial has been set up in front of the home for the four victims.
DellaRocco said the fire was fully involved when firefighters arrived at the scene around 4 a.m. Firefighters rushed into the second story of the home to remove the five victims before successfully putting out the fire at around 6 a.m., at which point the home was deemed at total loss, the roof having already collapsed.
A few people on the second floor were able to escape without injury through the back door and are being spoken to by fire officials to assess what may have happened.
The family that lives on the first floor of the home woke up to the sound of smoke detectors and were all able to escape the home uninjured.
"Everything inside meant something to me," said Melissa Krom, one of those able to escape the buring home.
what we kept saying as soon as everyone went down – ‘where is everyone,
where are the kids?'" said Krom.
Melissa, along with other tenants in the downstairs apartments salvaged what they could this afternoon.
Fire investigators are still looking into how the fire started, questioning neighbors and the mother of the three children that died. The landlord says they were in the process of evicting the family that lived upstairs because they had been behind on rent.
Several residences on the street had been evacuated and power shut down until the fire had been extinguished.
The Hulett Street fire is the third to break out in Schenectady overnight. Two others were reported on Nott and Swan Streets. Though they do not appear to be related, fire crews said it had been a tough night for city firefighters.