Child killed in fatal fire identified

Prince George’s County fire officials have identified the six-year-old boy killed in a fire at his Chillum house Sunday morning as Omari Noel, authorities said Monday.

Noel was among three people whom firefighters carried out of the home during the blaze, which occurred about 3:45 a.m. in the 2400 block of Griffen Street, said Mark Brady, a Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department spokesman. The other two, Noel’s mother and his aunt, remained hospitalized in critical condition just before 4 p.m. Monday, Brady said.

The boy’s grandmother was able to escape the blaze before firefighters arrived, Brady said.

Alex Popp, 72, who lives across the street from the now destroyed home, said the two women hurt are immigrants from Trinidad who worked as private nurses. He said they would frequently bring him mangos and wave to him while he was outside doing work on his house.

“This is just a disaster for this neighborhood,” Popp said. “It’s terrible.”

Popp said he was awake at 3:45 a.m., reading the newspaper, when he heard a loud boom. He said he initially thought it to be a car crash but soon came outside to see smoke and flames shooting from his neighbor’s house, a woman frantically banging on the windows.

Brady said investigators are still probing the exact cause of the blaze, though they believe it to be accidental. Authorities have said previously the home did not appear to have working smoke alarms.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.

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