September 15, 2014

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Lorain boy, 4, severely burned in house fire

LORAIN — A 4-year-old boy is in critical condition in the hospital with burns on 90 percent of his body, and police suspect the boy’s mother is responsible after she allegedly fell asleep with a lit cigarette.

The boy, Nasire King, was flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland after a fire at his home at 1045 W. 19th St. early Saturday.

Firefighters arrived shortly after 1 a.m. and found fire on the first floor. The fire was contained at 1:43 a.m., but the home was declared a total loss, according to Lorain fire Capt. Tom Baker.

Baker said investigators hadn’t determined a cause and that the State Fire Marshal is investigating what caused the fire, but police suspect the mother may be responsible, according to a police report.

The mother, 28-year-old Nicole King, was standing outside with Nasire, her mother and six other children, who live in the home when police arrived. Police said Nasire had second- to third-degree burns on 90 percent of his body, and he was wrapped in a blanket outside.

Nicole King told police she got everyone out of the home after she heard her mother yelling that there was a fire. She said she could not immediately find Nasire, but she did a short time later and carried him out of the home. She told police she did not know what started the fire.

Police said Nicole and the other family members did not have any injuries. Police later learned from officials with the Fire Department that several small bloody footprints were seen leading to a neighbor’s home, and they were believed to be Nasire’s.

The footprints were still on the front porch of the home Saturday afternoon, and they led from the home at 1045 W. 19th St.

Police believed the footprints were an indication that Nicole King’s claim that she carried the boy out of the house was inaccurate.

“… It is clear that Nasire was running throughout the neighborhood, more than likely in shock or trying to find someone to help him,” read the report.

According to the police report, officers were notified by hospital staff that they overheard Nicole King say that she may have fallen asleep with a lit cigarette. Hospital staff also told police Nasire has been brought to MetroHealth multiple times for “suspicious injuries,” including peroxide ingestion, a scalp laceration and two other lacerations.

Charges have not been filed yet, as the Lorain Fire Department, State Fire Marshal and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms continue to investigate.

Nicole King could not be reached for comment Saturday, and King did not return a request for comment made through MetroHealth staff.

Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer said city officials will investigate whether the home was up to code, but he did not have access to files Saturday to determine if the house had any past violations.

The home is owned by Kent Sutton, who was renting the home to Nicole King. When contacted Saturday, Sutton could not say how many people were living in the home.

Sutton also owns a home that was rented to Erica Perez, the mother arrested July 5 after seven of her children were found living in filth and unsanitary conditions. Boards were placed on the windows of the home, at 1714 Long Ave., after Perez’s arrest.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.