Child Dies in Bensenville House Fire

Mother escapes burning home with three children, fourth dies after hiding behind dresser

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Four-year-old boy killed in fire, three other children escape. NBC 5's Regina Waldroup reports.

    A child hiding behind a dresser died in a Bensenville house fire Wednesday afternoon.

    The victim was identified Thursday as 4-year-old Martin Pletz.

    Emergency crews were called to the burning home in the 1500 block of West Devon Avenue at about 2 p.m.

    Family members told firefighters there was a 4-year-old boy in the back bedroom of the home, but they were not able to get to him in time.

    "Firefighters made a frantic effort to search for the baby, but by the time they found the child, the child was deceased," Bensenville Fire Department spokesman David Traiforos said.

    A neighbor told NBC 5 that Martin's mother and three other children were able to escape. The surviving children were a 9-month-old girl, and 18-month-old boy and a 6-year-old girl.

    "I was telling God, 'Can you please save the kid? I don't want him to die," neighbor Michael Barroso said.

    Neighbors say they helped the mother, Tiffany Pletz, break windows and went inside the home to find the boy, but were unsuccessful.

    "She inhaled all that smoke going back in and out. I got to give it to her ... she fought hard," said the victim's grandfather, who asked to remain anonymous.

    Two dogs, a rottweiler and a pit bull, also perished in the fire.

    Pletz was treated for smoke inhalation at a local hospital but was expected to be OK.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation.

    Those interested in donating to the Pletz family can send checks or money orders to The Helping Hands c/o of the Pletz family. Donations can be dropped off or mailed to the fire station at 500 S. York Road, Bensenville, 60106.