June 23, 2008

6-Year-Old Boy Dies After Fire

By Autumn Grooms, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

Jun. 23--A 6-year-old boy died Sunday morning after his two-story apartment in the La Crosse Housing Authority Huber Homes caught fire.

Angelo Poppe died at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center after he was rescued from a second-story bedroom, La Crosse Fire Department Capt. Jeff Halverson said. Firefighters were called to the home at 2830 Huber Court about 9:30 a.m., Halverson said.

A police officer patrolling in the area was first on the scene and made entry, but he was unable to reach the second floor because of heavy smoke and heat, Halverson said. A firefighter later found Poppe by using a thermo-imaging camera.

Crews performed CPR, but Poppe later died of apparent smoke inhalation, Halverson said. Officials believe the fire was started by a child playing with a lighter.

No other residents or emergency workers were injured.

Family, friends and neighbors remembered Poppe as a kind, polite kid Sunday night at a candlelight memorial service outside his house and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse Huber Club, which is located next door.

Mourners cried, hugged and prayed as a rainbow appeared overhead.

Children carried handfuls of flowers they'd picked and placed them alongside the chain-link fence where a memorial had started.

Their efforts joined a stuffed SpongeBob SquarePants doll, Spider-Man toy and basketball at the makeshift memorial.

"It's a sad thing around here," said Jodie Faulkner, a family friend and neighbor whose children attended Southern Bluffs Elementary School with Poppe. "This is a very sad day for our neighborhood."

Autumn Grooms can be reached at (608) 791-8424 or [email protected]


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