5-year-old boy dies in fire

Brother charged with endangering welfare
February 21, 2008 6:39:49 PM PST
A house fire in Queens claimed the life of a 5-year-old boy who had apparently been left home alone Wednesday.Crying out for her son, the boy's mother collapsed in the arms of friends trying to console her.

Authorities say the 5-year-old Jason Guallpa was not able to escape a rapidly moving fire engulfing an apartment building in Queens.

The fire broke out in the three-story home at 35-58 98th Street just before 10:30 a.m.

"It appears the child was left alone and left inside the apartment," FDNY Asst. Chief John Acerno said.

Firemen did not discover his body until it was too late.

The fire, they believe, began in the kitchen, engulfing the first-floor apartment.

A second alarm was called, bringing more than 100 firefighters to the scene. But sadly, they had no knowledge that the boy was home alone.

Fire investigators are still trying to determine if he tried to escape.

"Kids in a fire will go into corners or try to go into a toy chest or a closet and basically hide from the fire, and that looks to be the case this time," Acerno said.

Authorities say Diego Guallpa, the boy's brother, has been arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The 24-year-old was apparently babysitting when he left the child to get his taxes done.