House Fire Kills 11-year-old Augusta Co. Boy

By: Dave Byknish Email
By: Dave Byknish Email

September 30, 2012

(WHSV) An 11-year-old boy from Dooms is dead after being trapped in his room while his house was on fire.

Dustin Fitzgerald had just started classes at Wilson Middle School. When he wasn't at school, Dustin liked to do magic and had just started getting into drawing.

Like any mother, Michelle Fitzgerald said she's proud of her boy.

"He's really smart. Getting straight As and Bs already. He was offered scholarship programs and everything because he's so smart," she said.

Early Sunday morning, a fire that Fitzgerald thinks might have been caused by her baseboard heating, started under her 5-year-old son's bed.

"He just started screaming mom, get up. And he was smart enough to pull his door shut," she said.

Smoke alarms that Fitzgerald tested only last month, never went off. Dustin didn't have a warning that the house was on fire.

"He was upstairs in that room," she points. "We were yelling for him and all he kept saying was, mama, mama, I can't breathe, mama."

As Fitzgerald tried to find Dustin through thick black smoke, a moment of relief turned into a mother's nightmare.

"I kept hollering for him. I thought I heard him coming down the steps but he never came down."

Emergency response teams arrived, but they say the fire had too much of a head start. No one had remembered to call 911 as they frantically tried to get Dustin free. It took roughly half an hour to get the fire under control.

But it was already too late.

On Sunday night, a mother will be surrounded by friends and family trying to piece it all together.

She knows, she did all she could.

"We tried to get him out," Fitzgerald said, as she began to cry.

Family and friends of the Fitzgerald family are asking that support and condolences be directed to 473 North Bath Ave. in Waynesboro or the Little Caesars Pizza in Waynesboro.

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