BOULDER, Colo. -- Neighbors criticize firefighter response time to a Boulder fire yesterday that killed a little boy.
They say it could have made the difference in saving the child’s life. But Boulder Fire says probably nothing could have saved the little boy.
Dispatchers got the first 911 call just before 10:23 a.m. Tuesday to the Boulder Meadows Mobile Home Park in the 4900 block of 19th Street.
Firefighters arrived at about 10:31 a.m. That’s an eight-minute response time some neighbors say is too long considering a fire station is just about a block away.
Neighbor Gerardo Ibarra Sr. heard an explosion.
Then, he saw flames devour the trailer next door, as a mother of two boys--her face blackened--emerged with just one child.
“The big kid ran inside, into the fire. (He) said, ‘My brother, my brother,’ He was going to get his brother,” Ibarra says in Spanish.
Ibarra pauses as he remembers going in after the 5-year-old.
“I went in and took him out of the fire because he was going to burn. But I couldn’t get the little one out. It was too ugly already,” he says.
Ibarra and other neighbors say it took firefighters too long to get there--even though a fire station is just down the street.
“The police got here like in 3 minutes. But the firefighters, it took them 13 minutes. For that reason, the little boy died,” says Ibarra.
“It’s a firefighters worst day when we can’t save a child,” says Boulder Fire Deputy Chief Michael Calderazza.
He says that the close-by Fire Station 5 was filling in for another fire crew in Gun Barrel, who were training near Boulder Reservoir.
Other Boulder fire stations then filled in for Station 5. The nearest one at 13th and High is three miles away near the Pearl Street Mall.
Calderazza says they and three other crews arrived in less than 8 minutes.
“There’s probably next to nothing we could have done. Even if someone were right there and standing there, I’m not sure we would have had a positive outcome,” says Calderazza.
He says trailer fires burn very hot and fast—along with the furniture inside them. He also says young children are more susceptible to smoke than adults.
“It’s very sad, it’s very sad, the baby who died. It hurts my heart,” says teary neighbor, Martha Argunedo, in Spanish.
The neighbor says her heart is broken that a baby died in such a tragic way.
And why it happened is something investigators are still trying to figure out as they sift for clues in the charred remains of the home.
A cause of the fire could be announced by Monday.
Neighbors have set up a fund to help the family who lost everything.