Schenectady County

Child critical following ‘suspicious’ fire in Schenectady

A child was unconscious and listed in critical condition after being pulled from a fire Saturday mor

A child was unconscious and listed in critical condition after being pulled from a fire Saturday morning, according to a fire official.

The mother of the child, Tamira Bell, 34, of 1027 Congress St., was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, for leaving the child unattended, according to Schenectady Police spokesman Eric Clifford. He said Schenectady County Child Protective Services is investigating the case.

Neighbors described Avion Bell as pretty, friendly and polite. The 9-year-old is known for riding a pink toy motorcycle throughout her Congress Street neighborhood and playing Playstation 2 games.

Deputy Fire Chief Rod Rosate said everyone on duty — 24 firefighters — responded to the call at 4:23 a.m. Saturday to 1027 Congress St.

“The fire is suspicious,” Rosate said, without being specific. “It was a pretty nasty fire and she was found by our guys in her bedroom.”

Paramedic firefighters Lieutenant Robert Grzeskowiak and Darren VanNatten made a harrowing rescue of the child.

Victor Robinson, 18, who lives in the same building as Bell, said everyone at the house was asleep at the time. The smoke awakened them, then they went outside and saw flames coming out of a second floor window, Robinson said.

A bystander driving by stopped and tried to run inside the house to look for Avion but was overwhelmed by the smoke and ran back outside, Robinson said.

A boyfriend of Robinson’s mother banged on the door, but no one came down.

They went next door to use a neighbor’s phone and firefighters arrived, found Avion and pulled her out.

“She was dead. Her eyes were open and her tongue was out,” Robinson said. “She was such a good kid. I used to pick on her a lot. She was like a sister.”

Robinson said firefighters had to resuscitate the girl twice before she was taken to the hospital.

Clifford said Avion Bell was transported to the Ellis Hospital emergency room with smoke inhalation and later transported to Westchester Medical Center via the Albany Medical Center MedFlight.

Neighbors said Avion Bell’s father lives in Brooklyn.

Avion’s 34-year old mother, Tamira, came home around 7 a.m., according to neighbors’ comments Saturday evening.

Tamira Bell is being held in Schenectady Police detention pending arraignment before a City Court judge.

Categories: Schenectady County


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