3-year-old dead, parents injured in Munster house fire, officials say

Eric Horng Image
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
3-year-old dead, parents injured in NW Indiana house fire: officials
A 3-year-old is dead in a Munster house fire on Cornwallis Lane Monday, Lake County, Indiana officials say. The child's parents were hospitalized.

MUNSTER, Ind. (WLS) -- A 3-year-old boy died in a house fire in northwest Indiana Monday, officials said.

The blaze broke out about 11:15 a.m. in the 900-block of Cornwallis Lane in the Cobblestones subdivision in Munster, fire officials said.

There were multiple agencies on the scene about 4 p.m. Chopper 7 was over the scene, which showed severe damage to the back of the townhome.

The Lake County Coroner's Office said it was dispatched for a fire fatality. Fire officials confirmed a 3-year-old, who was pulled from the home, had died.

Neighbor Robert Wojtowich said smoke was billowing from the home. He saw the boy's mother screaming in the driveway that her son was still inside.

"She was screaming that, 'My baby is -- my baby's gone,'" Wojtowich said.

Moments later, the boy's father got out and collapsed in the driveway.

"The husband came out and fell down at my feet. I looked at him, and I said, 'Are you OK?' And he said, 'No! My son is still in there!' And he ran back in," Wojtowich said.

Kim Mullens lives next door to the fire-ravaged townhome.

"That little boy was so precious, so precious. Oh, my God. The best, well-behaved, little happy thing you've ever met," Mullens said. "He always came over with his little trike and parked it where my husband had his motorcycle in the garage and turn around and do this [thumbs up], like, he was adorable."

The child's parents were taken to a hospital for smoke inhalation with minor to moderate burns, officials said.

SEE ALSO: 911 dispatcher honored for helping save life of retired Chicago firefighter: 'It was a blessing'

The fire chief said it's been several years since they've had a fatal fire in Munster involving a child.

"Any loss of life is terrible for us, but when you talk about a child, it's really hard. That's the hardest thing there is," Munster Fire Chief Mark Hajduk said.

Officials say the boy's siblings were at school at the time of the fire.

The fire's cause is under investigation.