Baby dies in Phoenix apartment fire

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Phoenix Police have identified the 7-month-old who died when a fire broke out in an apartment complex as Mohamed Ali.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but police say they have a good idea where it started, in the bedroom closet where the infant was.

On Tuesday we also learned that the smoke detector inside the apartment did not have a battery in it.

Phoenix Fire Officials said while they can't say for sure that a working detector would have made a difference, it would not have hurt.

"If that detector had gone off and had alerted the adults a little bit sooner, possibly the outcome would have been different," said Phoenix Fire Captain Tony Mure.

The fire started sometime after 3 p.m. Monday at a complex on McDowell Road just east of 24th Street.

Video from Chopper 3 showed several fire trucks on the scene with firefighters battling flames on the roof of the building.

Multiple units were evacuated leaving dozens of people stuck outside on a hot afternoon.

Firefighters arrived at the complex in less than three minutes after the initial call. They were met with a wall of smoke as they entered the apartment where the child died.

They had to fight their way through the unit to get to the room where the baby was found. It was too late by the time they got there.

The child's mother, grandmother, two toddlers and another baby were all in the apartment when the fire started. They could not get to the baby.

An off-duty firefighter who saw the smoke attempted to help. He tried crawling on his hands and knees to get to the baby but he could not make it.

"We had an off-duty firefighter that actually saw the fire, pulled in, actually helped the family remove themselves from this apartment," said Capt. Jonathan Jacobs with the Phoenix Fire Dept. "He actually tried to make access into the house by crawling on his hands and knees. He was unsuccessful. He was pushed back by the amount of smoke and the amount of fire."

The fire was contained to one apartment but the occupants of six to 18 apartments will be displaced on Monday night.