A veteran firefighter has died after a car crash en route to tackle a deadly house fire which killed a three-year-old girl.
Little Ashanti Hughes died on Saturday morning after suffering severe burns in the house fire, sparked by a charging hoverboard, at 2534 Lexington Street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Friday.
Two other girls remain hospitalized in critical condition after the blaze while a man and his teenage son were treated and released.
Fire Lt. Dennis DeVoe was responding to reports of the fire when his vehicle was hit at an intersection by 19-year-old Khanyae Kendall, who was reportedly driving a stolen vehicle. The firefighter was rushed to hospital but died of his injuries.
Ashanti Hughes (left) and veteran firefighter Dennis DeVoe (right) died after a deadly blaze sparked by a charging hoverboard
Little Ashanti Hughes died on Saturday morning after suffering severe burns and injuries in the house fire (pictured) at 2534 Lexington Street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Friday
Her home at 2534 Lexington Street (above) caught fire after a hoverboard exploded
Kendall, who fled the scene, was later arrested and is being charged with DUI, aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property, accidents involving injury, among other charges.
The fire broke out around 7.45pm on Friday night after a hoverboard, which was plugged in to recharge on the first floor, began sparking.
‘They heard some sizzling and crackling in the hoverboard and shortly thereafter, it exploded in flames,’ Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline said.
Enterline said hoverboards are ‘notorious for starting fires.’
Ashanti, pictured with her mother China Marie Hughes, suffered severe burns in the fire
The three-year-old finally succumbed to her injuries on Saturday morning. The other two injured girls remain in hospital
Charles Allen told CBS affiliate WHP-TV that he saw young girls screaming from the second story as the smoke and flames erupted around them.
‘Somebody was trying to kick out the window because of the smoke or whatever and then all of a sudden I hear a child hit the ground – boom,’ he said.
Allen said he ran over and picked up the girl.
‘Everybody was frantic, hollering, screaming and what not, so I was taking her to the ambulance’ he said.
Three girls were rushed to a local hospital and later transferred to Lehigh Valley burn center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where Ashanti tragically died,PennLive reports.
‘My granddaughter, I can’t replace her,’ said Mark Hughes, Ashanti’s grandfather. ‘The pain is so deep. I’m so hurt. My soul is hurt.’
Fire Lt. Dennis DeVoe, pictured with his wife Amy, was responding to reports of the fire when his vehicle was hit at an intersection by a 19-year-old who was reportedly driving a stolen vehicle
The veteran firefighter (pictured with his wife) was rushed to hospital but died of his injuries
Many of the firefighters battling the blaze had just come from straight from the funeral of a retired firefighter who died of cancer.
The fire was part of a ‘devastating’ evening for the department, Enterline told PennLive.
DeVoe, a married father, and 21-year veteran with Harrisburg Fire Department, was driving back to the station to pick up his gear when the driver of the stolen car smashed into him.
‘What we saw was a horrific scene,’ Harrisburg Police Captain Gabe Olivera said of the crash scene.
Lt. Dennis DeVoe ‘was a leader in our department and the fire service as a whole,’ Enterline said.
Firefighters spent more than an hour battling the flames that were fueled by high winds
Two other girls who lived here remain in critical condition at Lehigh Valley burn center
‘His passion for the fire service made each of us strive to be better in all we do. Our department and the City of Harrisburg are better because of his service.’
‘Our hearts are broken and we grieve for the loss of our brother.’
Firefighters spent more than an hour battling the flames that were fueled by high winds.
By 9.45pm the fire was under control, but smoke continued to pour out of the house.
‘When the officers arrived it was fully engulfed we have people trying to get back in the house to try and get people out from the building and the fire department arrived and made entry to the building they did remove several people from the building’, said Olivera on Friday.