Boy, 7, killed in Trenton fire; another saved

TRENTON, N.J. - August 26, 2010

The blaze broke out about 12:15 a.m. Thursday along the unit block of Vine Street.

When firefighters arrived they found flames shooting through the second floor and roof.

A total of four children were rescued from the fire, but one could not be saved. He has been identified as 7-year-old Aldrey Anderson. Aldrey's mother Edy jumped from a window to escape the flames, suffering a broken leg.

As firefighters battled the blaze, Battalion Chief John Gribbin said he had a hunch to look into a small basement window.

When he did, he said he saw a pair of eyes looking back at him. They belonged to 18-month-old toddler Augustin Pope.

Gribbin said the little boy was treading in four feet of water and may have been there for as long as two hours.

"I just kept talking to him," Gribbin said. "I didn't want to leave. I was starting to take my gear off, because my intentions were to go through the window. The window was very small. I might've gotten stuck in the window, but I was getting him out of there, no matter what."

The boy twice slipped below the surface of the water. The chief told the boy to go over to the water heater and hold onto it. That's where another firefighter reached him.

The child wrapped his arms and legs around the firefighter, as the firefighter worked his way out of the house.

His mother explained to Action News that she just left to drop off the child's father and left a friend in the basement to watch the child, but when she returned she saw smoke and imagined the worst.

"I'm just glad. It was God who was protecting him. That's all I can say," Augustin's mother said.

She is also the aunt of Aldrey.

Augustin is being evaluated in the hospital.

The two little girls who survived the fire were treated and released from the hospital. Aldrey's mother remains hospitalized at this time.

Authorities say several Liberian families were residents of the home.

The fire badly damaged a total of three row homes.

As the investigation continues into the cause of the fire, Mayor Tony Mack has vowed to help the family.

"I have four children of my own and I could only imagine what they're going through during these tough times and losing a life of a loved one; we're cognizant of that and we're going to do everything we can to make their lives as normal as possible under the circumstances," Mack said.

Officials say the fire is not considered to be suspicious.

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