A three-year-old Pennsauken boy was killed and his grandmother injured when a fire broke out in their home in the 6000 block of Camden Avenue early yesterday evening.
The Pennsauken fire chief said faulty lights on the family Christmas tree appears to have caused the blaze.
The boy's grandmother, Vielka Gonzalez, 56, was taken to Cooper University Hospital and then transferred to Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Delaware County to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation. She was in critical condition.
Ileana Gonzalez, 23, the boy's mother, was treated at Cooper University Hospital and released.
The boy, Alexander, was transported to Cooper and pronounced dead.
Fire Chief Jack Mattera said firefighters were dispatched at 6:22 p.m. and found the front of the home fully engulfed in flames.
Firefighters entered the house from the back and found the boy laying on the kitchen floor, Mattera said.
The mother's boyfriend and daughter, Siana, 4, were not injured. Salomon Gonzalez, 59, the boy's grandfather, was not home when the fire broke out.
Neighbor Kathy Hall, 49, said this morning she had just finished dinner and was cleaning up in her kitchen about 6 p.m. yesterday when her husband, Fred, "came yelling the house was on fire."
"The mother, grandmother, they were frantic, they were hysterical," said Hall, who lives across the street from the Gonzalez home.
"It was just chaos," she said of the fire scene.
"I tried to even go down the side (of the house) but it was too hot," Hall said of the blaze. She said there were Christmas lights outside "popping" in the fire.
Hall said the Gonzalez family has lived in the home for about six or seven years. Salomon Gonzalez stayed at their home last night.
The homes in the Camden Avenue neighborhood are detached single-family dwellings.
The windows on the Gonzalez's home are now boarded up, the siding has melted. A recreational vehicle parked in the gravel driveway is now a burnt shell.
The fire also melted the siding on the houses on either side of the Gonzalez home.
This morning cars slowly drove by the fire scene. One woman got out of her car and placed a toy car on the front steps.