Grandfather Saves 7 Children From Burning Apartment

Seven children--including an 11-month-old boy who received serious burns--were rescued from a fire Friday by a grandfather who pried loose security bars from the inside of a Wilmington apartment after a Christmas tree ignited.

A 3-year-old boy playing with matches accidentally set the fire, which quickly spread and blocked the apartment doorway. Lamar Childress, who was watching a football game when the fire started, carried the children from the flaming B Street structure, said city Fire Department Battalion Chief Terry Dickeson.

"If the grandfather hadn't been watching television where he was and then tore those bars out, there would have been seven dead children," Dickeson said. Officials at Bay Harbor Hospital in Wilmington said the 11-month-old had second- and first- degree burns over 20% of his body and was transferred to the County-USC Medical Center burn ward. There were no other injuries.

Dickeson estimated damage at $28,500.

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