Heartbreaking in the least
Girl, 6, dies after running back into fire;
As the duplex burned, rescuers searched in vain.
Eddie Townsend tried twice early Tuesday morning to get inside the burning duplex in north Minneapolis to find the missing 6-year-old girl. But the smoke and heat forced him back.
As the girl's mother screamed for her baby, two Minneapolis police officers rushed up and went in, crawling on their hands and knees to stay below the smoke. But the fire forced them to leave, too.
In spite of heroic efforts, the girl died inside her home in the 2500 block of N. 4th St. Her 4-year-old brother was being treated for burns, and his condition wasn't available Tuesday. Authorities weren't releasing their names.
Townsend and police struggled to come to grips with the girl's death, in part because she had made it safely outside with her mother and three brothers.
But for unknown reasons, the girl ran back inside, said Minneapolis police Sgt. Sean McKenna.
Townsend said he was awakened shortly after midnight by screams from the woman who had recently moved into the duplex.
Seeing the fire, Townsend said, he rushed downstairs and next door to the woman, who was outside yelling frantically, "My baby's inside!"
"I ran in the side door and saw nothing in the kitchen," said Townsend, 51. "Then I jumped over a small fire into the other room. But when I took a breath, the smoke got me and I had to run right back out."
He said he talked quickly to the duplex owner, Mike Hadden, who escaped safely with his wife. Then Townsend scaled the front porch roof and broke a second-floor window. Black smoke billowed out, stopping him again, he said.
As the distraught mother continued to cry and yell for her daughter, police officers Mike Geere and Nicholas McCarthy arrived.
"With total disregard for themselves, they entered the flaming home," police spokesman Ron Reier said. "They searched several minutes on their hands and knees before they were forced out by the smoke and flames."
Then the officers let the family take shelter in their squad car, he said.
"A lot of rescue attempts were made," McKenna said. "People were very heroic."
Firefighters eventually found the girl dead upstairs, said Deputy Fire Chief Alex Jackson. Three engines and a ladder truck responded, and the fire was under control by 1:22 a.m., about an hour after the first call for help, he said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but foul play isn't suspected, McKenna said. He estimated the damage at $150,000.
Townsend was struggling later Tuesday to cope with the girl's death and said that he was upset that he hadn't seen the fire and reacted sooner: "I feel disappointed in myself."
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."
"If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters".
"A person who won't reason has no advantage over one who can't reason."
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
“Ignorance is a lot like alcohol: the more you have of it, the less you are able to see its effect on you.”
Originally Posted by Rooster Rugburn:
Didn't the whole sheepdog thing actually start right here on Glock Talk? A bunch of wannabees bought a bunch of T-shirts and took an oath to defend those who won't defend themselves?