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Boy, 4, dies in Bensenville house fire

A 4-year-old boy died and seven others were displaced after a house fire Wednesday afternoon in northwest suburban Bensenville.
A 4-year-old boy died after a house fire Wednesday afternoon in northwest suburban Bensenville. Two dogs were also found dead on the scene, fire officials said.

The fire broke out around 2 p.m. in the 1500-block of East Devon. Witnesses said there were a total of four kids inside the home at the time of the fire. Three made it out with their mother, but the boy who died apparently got scared and hid behind a dresser. Firefighters found the child during a search of the home.

The DuPage County Coroner's Office said Martin Pletz, 4, was pronounced dead at the scene just before 6:15 p.m. Wednesday.

It was a heartbreaking scene Wednesday night as the boy's body was removed from the home. His loved ones were left stunned by the loss of such a young life.

"He was a good kid. He was a real good kid. Loved to play. He loved life, loved everything," said the boy's grandfather.

The boy's grandfather said the boy was home with his mother and three of his siblings around 2 p.m. when fire and thick black smoke began pouring from the rear of the home.

"I was telling God, can you please save the kid? I don't really want him to die. I really, I did not think that was going to happen," said Michael Barroso, neighbor.

Neighbors say Martin's mother managed to escape from the home with three of the young kids, but it appears Martin became scared and hid behind a dresser.

Barroso said his mother and Martin's mom tried to re-enter the home, but the smoke was too intense.

"She did go over there to try and break the window, and she tried to go inside there, but sadly she couldn't get the kid out," said Barroso.

"On arrival the fire company says fire and smoke were showing from the side of the building. Firefighters proceeded to make entry into the house," said Chief David Traiforos, Berkeley Fire Dept.

For young Martin, it was too late. The flames had spread to the roof. A grieving family and their neighbors were left to wonder how this could happen.

"I thought that maybe there was a chance of them getting inside and taking him out. It was really sad," said Barroso.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated, though witnesses say it appeared to start in a rear bedroom. An autopsy on the child is scheduled for Thursday.
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