- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 3, 2009

An 11-year-old boy critically injured in a New Year’s Day house fire died Friday of his injuries.

Oscar Wilson III is the sixth fatality stemming from the fire in the 1000 block of Jackson Street Northeast. The boy had been taken to Children’s National Medical Center on Thursday in grave condition.

Hospital spokeswoman Alan Etter said the boy suffered from “devastating” smoke-inhalation injuries and had been on life support.

The other victims killed in the blaze have been identified as Charles Smith, 72.

Oscar was the son of Oscar and Michelle Wilson, 44 and 41, respectively, who were taken to a hospital along with a 15-year-old boy following the fire. None of the three had life-threatening injuries.

The tragedy is the second to strike the family in recent years. Taleshia Ford, Oscar and Michelle Wilson’s 17-year-old daughter, died after being hit by a stray bullet in January 2007 at a nightclub in Northwest.

Officials also confirmed Friday that the fire was caused by an electrical failure. The blaze began at the two-story, single-family home about 7 a.m. Thursday and was extinguished within an hour by roughly 120 firefighters.

D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Dennis L. Rubin said the balloon-frame construction of the house allowed the fire to move rapidly, even though personnel responded to the scene within one minute.

The construction style was popular in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Mr. Etter urged residents of such homes not to panic.

“With the proper smoke alarm and sprinklers, you’re perfectly safe in any structure,” he said.

Officials had not yet determined if smoke detectors in the home were working. Damage is estimated at $250,000.

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