EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Latest News

December 22, 2012

Child was alone during mobile home fire

Mom, brother were across the street

LONDONDERRY — A 17-month-old boy was home alone when fire broke out in his family’s mobile home, killing him.

Garrett Grice was asleep in his crib, his mother across the street Thursday afternoon when a grease fire started and quickly spread throughout the home at 17 Norwich Place.

His mother, Jennell Shields, rushed across the street after learning her house was on fire — her young son inside.

She broke a window, but couldn’t get to her son, according to her mother, Lori DeRienzo.

“She smashed the window,” DeRienzo said. “She tried her hardest to get him out, but she just couldn’t get through it.”

Dozens of firefighters soon arrived at the scene, but Garrett succumbed to smoke inhalation, according to an autopsy conducted at the state medical examiner’s office yesterday.

Fire officials said another child had turned on the kitchen stove before he and his mother crossed the street to DeRienzo’s house while Garrett napped.

Shields was hiding Christmas presents at her mother’s house, DeRienzo said, wanting to keep the gifts a secret from her young children.

“It is like anybody has done,” DeRienzo said yesterday. “You take that moment when he’s taking a nap ...”

A FedEx driver alerted the women to the fire.

But it was too late.

No one is saying whether Garrett died in the home or at the hospital.

Shields, too, was taken to Parkland Medical Center for burns and cuts, but wasn’t admitted.

Yesterday, Shields was at her mother’s house in Whispering Pines Mobile Home Park, but was too distraught to speak.

DeRienzo said the window was “winterized” and her daughter couldn’t get through the plastic to reach her child. A neighbor, using a shovel, tried, too, but couldn’t get inside.

The fire apparently started after an older child turned on the gas stove, heating a pan filled with grease there.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News

AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Photos of the Week