This story has been updated with new information that the fire was fatal.
WEST YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — The West York Fire Department said one child and two pets were rescued from a burning duplex Saturday night that was set off by improper disposal of fireworks.
The child, Elijah Hawkins and, three other people, including his brother Evan Hawkins, were taken to the hospital for treatment. The fire resulted in the two children being seriously burned and transported to a specialty burn unit. Unfortunately, Elijah died as a result of his injuries and Evan was in critical condition but is now improving.
Assistant Fire Chief James Hope said by the time crews arrived at the home on the 1500 block of West Poplar Street just after 11 p.m., the fire was fully involved toward the front of the home.
The rest of the family is recovering at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
The cause of the fire was due to improperly disposed fireworks. The house is a total loss while the neighbor’s property is salvageable.
Farjana Quayyum has lived next door to the family for 11 years.
“The next-door neighbors were setting off the ground fireworks and then after that, I went into bed and it was around 10:45 p.m. when I started hearing these crackling noises coming out,” Quayyum said.
She then smelled smoke and saw flames shooting toward her. She and her sister got out and called 911.
Quayyum, also an EMT, tried her best to help.
“The six-year-old boy was standing by here,” Quayyum said. “We tried to douse him with water for his burns and tried to give him blankets because he was shirtless and without shoes…The other eight-year-old boy they say he went into cardiac arrest and so they were doing CPR.”
Kirsten Sneddon knows the family through her father’s bowling league and from working in the West York School district.
“I was just heartbroken and I knew I wanted to help out some way so I started the GoFundMe page,” Sneddon said.
The GoFundMe page has already raised more than $60,000 as of Monday afternoon.
“As a bowling family we are very close and we like to help out each other and it’s nice to know there’s other people out there that (are) donating just to help out.”
Sneddon says the family is in need of clothing and basic everyday supplies, including kitchen supplies, a kitchen oven, microwave, toys, bathroom supplies, and items to rebuild their living room, dining room, and bedrooms.
For clothing, sizes include:
- Male size 10 pants and shirts, plus size 4 shoes
- Female size 2XL in pants and shirts, plus size 10/11 shoes
- Male size XL shorts and 2XL shirts, plus size 12 shoes
The three drop-off locations are:
- 1940 Normandie Drive, York PA 17408
- 2695 Baker Road, York PA 17408
- 3190 Robin Road, York PA 17404
If you’d like to like to help, you can contact Sneddon at 717-542-0238 or by email at Specialks02@gmail.com.
Sneddon says several events are being planned to raise money too, including a softball and bowling tournament as well as a Pampered Chef party.
“I just want to pour my heart out to the family,” said Danny Sneddon. “We’re thinking of you. Can’t imagine what you’re going through. And we hope in time things will heal.”
Police want to remind everyone that you have to be 150 feet away from any building to set off fireworks, which means there is no place in West York that you can do so legally.