Coroner identifies victim of Evansville house fire


EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) – Fire officials say they believe it was an electrical fire that claimed the life of a three-year-old boy Friday afternoon.

Firefighters were called to a house fire in the 200 block of Read Street around 4:44 p.m. The caller said she was upstairs and so was a baby.

When firefighters arrived, they found the woman outside with burns to her body. She said the front door was hot and a three-year-old boy was still inside in back bedroom on the second floor. She was taken by ambulance to a local hospital before being transferred to a Louisville burn unit.

Neighbors said the woman had kicked out a window air conditioner and escaped through that second-floor window. Employees from Dartt Automotive brought a ladder over to rescue her from the roof.

Firefighters forced their way inside the home through heavy smoke conditions and extreme heat, which impeded search efforts. The main body of the fire was found in a back bathroom on the first floor, where fire officials believe is the fire’s origin.

After darkening down the main body of fire, crews were able to get upstairs and find the boy. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died. An autopsy was schedule for 9 a.m. Saturday. The Vanderburgh County Coroner has identified the boy as Zaiden McCallister.

Crews had the fire out just after 5 p.m. but remained on scene looking for hotspots. One firefighter was initially reported as injured but had only been overcome by extreme heat. He was checked by AMR on scene and is okay.

(This story was originally published on April 16, 2021)

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