Mother charged in fatal house fire

Children left alone before blaze started

April 8, 2013
Updated 9:46 p.m.
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The scene of the fatal fire at 34 Fifth Ave., Gloversville, on March 21, the
day after the fire.
The scene of the fatal fire at 34 Fifth Ave., Gloversville, on March 21, the day after the fire.

— Police allege a Gloversville woman left her children alone before one of them sparked the March 20 blaze that claimed the life of a visitor at 34 Fifth Ave.

Jamie L. Ormanian, 31, was charged April 5 with three misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to a news release issued Monday by the Gloversville Police Department.

The 9 p.m. blaze at 34 5th Ave. claimed the life of Donald Larimore, 41, and injured another occupant, Marcus Vanslyke, 66, who was taken to Nathan Littauer Hospital the night of the fire.

Vanslyke and the children made it out of the house, Larimore didn’t.

An autopsy at Albany Medical Center Hospital determined Larimore died of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to police, Ormanian left her three children, ages 2, 4 and 12, and walked three blocks away to help a friend move a vehicle.

The only adults in the home at the time — Vanslyke and Larimore — were “highly intoxicated” at the time of the fire and unable to react to the situation, according to police.

Jamie L. Ormanian

Following an investigation, Gloversville Fire Chief Beth Whitman-Putnam reported the fire was started by one of the children who set a blanket on fire with a cigarette lighter.

Another factor that contributed to the fatality is the fact that the home had only one smoke detector in it and it had no battery, officials say.

Fire officials last month said more than 100 serious fires are started by children each year.

Gloversville Police Chief Donald W. Vandeusen on Monday said it’s never safe to leave children unattended.

“People believe if you leave the house for only a few minutes nothing bad can happen,” Vandeusen said.

“You can leave for a matter of minutes and if children aren’t properly supervised, bad things can happen and it can turn into a tragedy.”

Vandeusen said Ormanian left the home, and the children, to assist a friend who called from a convenience store about three blocks away.

Police said Ormanian was issued appearance tickets returnable to Gloversville City Court at a later date.

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