STERLING, Colo. -- Investigators say they’re unable to determine the cause of a deadly house fire that killed a 2-year-old boy Monday night in the northeastern town of Sterling.
His mother, father, older brother and family friend escaped.
Firefighters found Levi Welton unconscious in his bedroom closet about 7:30 p.m.
He would never recover.
Investigators say the fire originated in the middle of his bedroom between the bed and window.
“We smelled the smoke and we ran into the bedroom. We opened the door it was, smoke hit us. It was black. You couldn’t see anything. There were so many flames and Levi was screaming,” says Lili Montalvo, who was visiting the Welton’s when the fire erupted.
The 16-year-old and Levi’s dad, Chris, try saving Levi. But flames and smoke beat them back. Chris then breaks the bedroom window with a fire extinguisher.
“When I looked in the window I could see the whole bed was on fire…And I could hear him crying. The worst part is when I got out of the house, he stopped crying,” says Montalvo.
Firefighters pull out the two-year-old. But he would be pronounced dead at Sterling Regional Medical Center.
His father would also be treated for burns on his hands and face.
Welton says, “I did everything to try to save my son’s life. I’d be glad to trade my life for his.”
“It seems to be a little more tragic when it’s a child. They’re just so innocent,” says Sterling Fire Chief Kurt Vogel.
Montalvo considered Levi and his older brother, Dean, the little brothers she never had.
She had lived with Chris, 33, and Julia Welton, 27, for a while. She says they are like parents to her.
“He put a smile on everybody’s face. He was the cutest boy you’d ever meet. He had a place in everybody’s heart that he met,” she says.
“I’m glad he was here and made so many people happy. So many people loved him,” says Lili’s mom, Rene Montalvo.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigations is assisting Sterling Police and Sterling Fire on determining the cause.
But Montalvo says there were no candles, no matches, no obvious cause. She says there was a space heater in the room. But investigators say nothing points to that being the problem.
“I want everybody to know they loved those boys so much. They were their life. They did all they could,” she says.
CBI should release its written report on the fire in a few weeks.
Friends and family are setting out donation jars at businesses throughout Sterling to help pay for funeral expenses.
Follow this link to see ideas about how to protect children in case of a house fire.