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10-year-old year boy dies in house fire after not being able to open locked door, medical examiner says

Medical examiners say the fire was caused by a lit candle
Posted at 12:36 PM, Apr 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-26 20:01:56-04

A 10-year-old boy who died in a Friday fire in Milwaukee was unable to open a locked door while trying to escape, a medical examiner's report said. Investigators have now named the victim as Justin Williams.

The child was in the basement when the fire at a home near 118th and Florist began to spread. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office said the child had attempted to exit the home through a rear door but was unable to because it was locked.

The fire happened Friday, April 23 at approximately 10 p.m. in the area of 118th and Florist.

Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's say Justin was in the basement at the time the fire ignited. His older sister Alexa Williams was able to escape by crawling through a window.

Acting Deputy Fire Chief Will Kowalski said the fire started in the front room and when they arrived only two family members were outside.

"We found one child along with their dog inside the kitchen," Kowalski said.

Family friend, Kelly Shaver says Justin was also attempting to save his dog, Ace, that was also killed during the moments the fire broke out.

Medical examiners say the child was found alongside his dog near the door.

"They're together in a better place," Shaver said.

Unfortunately, life-saving measures were not successful.

Sheila Milbrath is another neighbor and said she saw the young boy during her walks with her German Shepard and he would wave and say he loved her dog.

"He just was always respectful. He was a respectful kid," Milbrath said.

Chief Kowalski told TMJ4 news that the house did have working smoke detectors.

"Make sure you're also practicing fire drills in your home and multiple ways out," Kowalski said.

The family has been displaced from their home since Friday.

If you are do not have a smoke detector in your home, you can call the city of Milwaukee Smoke Detector Hotline at (414) 286-8980.

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