March 2, 2022

Chief: 3-year-old boy dies in Greenville blaze, rescuers catch fire in attempt to save him

Therese Apel

Fire Captain Randy Ray's melted helmet after efforts to rescue a toddler trapped in a house fire.

A 3-year-old boy was killed in an apartment fire in Greenville Tuesday night.

Officials say the Oakwood Estates Apartments on West Reed Road in Greenville began to burn sometime before 5 p.m. When firefighters arrived, there were heavy flames showing.

Greenville Fire Chief Ruben Brown said the efforts to save the boy were extensive. He posted to Facebook, along with a photo of a melted fire helmet, about the bravery shown by his firefighters in trying to rescue the child. He said the fire were so hot the firefighters’ gear, which is engineered to withstand extremely high temperatures, caught fire as well.

“I witnessed the men and women of the Greenville Fire Department display extra ordinary courage and bravery in the attempt to save this young child’s life. They pushed themselves through smoke, heat and fire. The bottom floor was fully engulfed upon arrival. But, this didn’t stop them,” he wrote. “They proceeded to the top floor. Captain Ray, Relief Lieutenant Titus and Firefighters Phillips and Welton literally was on fire themselves in their efforts. The melted helmet of Fire Captain Randy Ray displays unseen heroic efforts to the public’s eye.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Brown reached out to the family in their time of grief on behalf of his department.

“The Greenville Fire Department and myself would like to extend our sincere condolences and prayers to the family that lost their precious 3 year-old boy at yesterday’s Cypress View Apartment fire,” Brown wrote.

He went on to acknowledge others who responded to the situation as well, some who controlled the scene and some who brought spiritual relief.

“We thank Police Chief Marcus Turner and the Greenville Police officers that showed compassion, scene safety and control. We are truly 1 Team. We also give thanks to the Sheriff’s Department and Pafford EMS,” he wrote. “Mayor Eric Simmons and Councilman James Wilson arrived on scene. Once there, they prayed and supported our First Responders. Pastor Prestage and Dr. Edwards thank you for staying up late last night with us as we debriefed and started the healing process of this tragic event. We are asking the community to keep the family in their prayers.”

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