Fire takes the life of another child

October 12, 2008 4:21:04 PM PDT
For the second consecutive night, a deadly fire devastated a family. The victims this time were a 33-year-old man and his 12-year-old nephew.The flames broke out early Sunday morning on the second floor of a Brooklyn apartment building at 1214 Hancock Street in Bushwick.

"I could see his face, a smiling young man," relative Frederick Monderson said.

Shawn Monderson was a 33-year-old man who took pride in working as a bus driver and an uncle. He moved into the home just last week with his nephew, 12-year-old Simeon Fraser. The two were inseparable, even in their final moments. Fire raced through the two-story row home, killing both.

Frederick Monderson remembers how excited Shawn was when the Guyana native recently got his U.S. citizenship.

"I am the one who brought him and his father to this country," he said. "So I'm...he's a good kid."

People living nearby remember hearing a loud pop just after midnight, and then looking out their windows in sheer terror.

"I open the window, and I see a lot of fire from there," witness Marline Umna said.

"That was totally horrific," another neighbor said. "The whole thing was up in flames."

The Monderson family has endured unbelievable pain over the last 15 years. Shawn had three brothers. All of them died tragically. One was electrocuted. Another drowned, and the third was murdered.

Friends say Shawn treated Simeon like his own son. The boy's mother is back in Guyana. Shawn was looking forward to showing off his new place to other relatives. Residents realize that is something that will never happen, trying to take in all of this with two young lives lost.

On Saturday, fire took the lives of five members of the same family. A six member - a 10-year-old boy - is clinging to life at Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx.

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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