Boy critical after Strawberry Mansion fire

June 7, 2011 3:20:56 PM PDT
A 10-year-old boy remains hospitalized in critical condition after an early morning fire in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia.

Albert Blassengale, 10, was injured after fire tore through his two-story home on 27th Street on Monday night. Albert lives there with his father, Jerry.

Family members tell Action News that Albert had recently returned home from a nearby cousin's house and gone to sleep. His father was out about a half block away.

"I just want everybody to keep Albert in their prayers. He's a very sick little boy," said Albert's aunt Yvonne Cook.

Firefighters were called just before 10:00 p.m. and, fire officials say, it was members of the Ladder 14 who rescued the boy. There were earlier reports of civilians venturing inside.

The fire commissioner explains normally there would be a response time of two and a half to three minutes on this block, but it took longer because the first three companies that would respond to this location were already out on other calls.

Albert is a fifth grader at the Edward Gideon School where he's a member of the chess team. Both his principal and his chess coach say he's a good student and a great kid.

"He's smart, he's energetic, he's enthusiastic. Both he and his father were involved in a class trip last week," said Principal Jeannine Hendricks.

Yvonne Laney, Albert's chess coach, says, "It's overwhelming. My church is praying for them right now."

Albert's friend, Aliah Goodwin, tells us, "Albert, he's nice. He's nice to everybody. He's kind of like a straight-A student."

Action News is told that Albert's father is very involved in the community and the school. He's block captain and raised his son. We're told he also remains in ICU after suffering smoke inhalation, but is expected to be okay.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Albert will turn 11 years old later this month.