Child Dies in Early-Morning Fire in Greene County

FEBRUARY 26, 2007 - Posted at 8:21 a.m. CST, Updated 6:20 p.m. CST

PARAGOULD, AR - A child died after an early morning fire in Greene County.  The fire started around 1:30 on Monday morning.

The fire had engulfed the house by the time the fire department arrived.

18-month-old Deamon Raphael Bailey was sleeping in his crib in the back bedroom of the home with his mother at his side.

Anthony said they believe the fire started in the back bedroom where the baby and mother were sleeping.

"She started screaming for help and ran into another room of the house to alert the other family members that the house was on fire," said Shanon Anthony, Chief Deputy for the Greene County Sheriff's Department.

The child's mother Lessie Simpson tried to go back in the bedroom for her baby.

"She said the heat and the smoke was so she could not get back into the room," said Anthony.

The home belongs to Simpson's father Danny Rice who tried to rescue the baby by breaking a window into the room.  Anthony said that there was a back draft when he broke the window out and the smoke and heat took over and he could not get in to save the child.

"The folks were heating with a space heater and the space heater was plugged into the wall with an extension cord and it's believed at this time that's where the fire started," said Anthony.

It is not known why the mother didn't take the baby with her when she first noticed the room was on fire.

"Until you're actually placed in that situation you don't know how you're going to react to that.  I'm going to say when the mother woke up she was probably in a state of panic," said Anthony.

No one else was injured in the fire.  It is believed the child died of smoke inhalation but his body has been sent to the state crime lab for an autopsy.

Investigators have not done a walk through of the home yet, but said the do not believe smoke detectors were being used.