Fierce Camden fire kills toddler, injuries baby, four others

Glenda Ransom becomes emotional as she tells how she lost everything in a fire that tore through the Gramercy Park apartments in Camden's Fairview section May 26, 2012. (Video still / Frank Kummer / Staff)
Glenda Ransom becomes emotional as she tells how she lost everything in a fire that tore through the Gramercy Park apartments in Camden's Fairview section May 26, 2012. (Video still / Frank Kummer / Staff)
Posted: May 27, 2012

and Kristin Holmes

Staff Writers

A four-alarm fire that witnesses say rousted them from bed in the middle of the night with an explosion tore through a Camden apartment complex, killing a toddler, and injuring four others.

A four-month-old baby is among those hospitalized, and eight units were destroyed as a result of the blaze that began shortly before 2 a.m., according to Camden Fire Chief Michael Harper.

"It’s a bad fire," Harper said early this morning at the scene at the Gramercy Park apartments in the city’s Fairview section.

Harper said there was no known cause identified yet, and the fire that killed a 22-month-old was under investigation. He said it was unclear if all the injured, which included what’s believed to be the mother and father of one of the children, were all in the same unit. The injured were taken to both Cooper University Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, both in Camden. Officials did not immediately identify the victims.

However, a neighbor Kushon Russ, who said she was a family friend, identified the family as: Galaxy Brown, 22; her boyfriend, Troy Floyd Brown, 20; their sons, Elijah, 4-months-old; and, Dontae, 22-months-old. Neighbors said Galaxy Brown works in a nursing home and her boyfriend stays at home with the children.

A spokesman for Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center said they treated and released two fire victims believed to be Galaxy and Troy. But no further information was available as of early this afternoon.

Glenda Ransom, who lived in one of the burned-out units, said she was awakened by an explosion.

"It was a big boom," said Ransom, who has lived at the complex for 15 years.

"Then I heard the girl screaming," Ransom said in reference to what she believed to be the mother of the child who was killed. "That baby was in there."

Ransom said she did not personally know the woman who lived in the second-floor unit where the blaze started.

"They were young, they were in their 20s," she said.

"All I heard was her screaming," Ransom repeated, clearly shaken. She said she had lost everything.

Several residents at the complex said they were puzzled that an explosion appeared to have started the fire since utilities at the complex at the apartment are electric. The only gas line they could think of ran to the laundry room. But they said that appeared intact.

Ann Moore, whose son manages the complex but was away, came to check on the units. She shoot her head at the devastation, which completely gutted and blew out whole rooms.

"I just came to make sure everyone is OK," said Moore, who said she was saddened that was not the case.

Check back for more details as they develop.

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