‘I felt hopeless’: Friends, neighbors share about child killed in Altamonte Springs fire

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. — An Altamonte Springs family is grieving the loss of a child killed in an early morning fire.


It happened at an apartment complex on the 800 block of Ballard Street just before 1:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Throughout the day our crews watched as people stopped by the site of the fire and left balloons, flowers, and stuffed animals in honor of the young victim.

Read: Child dies after fire rips through Altamonte Springs apartment complex

One of those people was Jadan Joseph.

“This is the first time I lost a best friend.”

Joseph said he couldn’t believe the news when another friend told him.

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“At first I thought he was lying,” Joseph said. “But when I woke up today, I saw the [burnt building] and I knew it was true.”

Fire officials told Channel 9 that it took less than 3 minutes, after being dispatched, for crews to arrive at the scene.

More than 70 firefighters quickly worked to put out the flames. A total of 12 units were damaged.

“As soon as I crossed over to the other side of the complex, I just felt heat, the most extraordinary heat I’ve ever felt in my life,” said Kerby Kadet, Joseph’s father.

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Kadet lives just down the street from where the fire started. He said he was woken up by loud banging on his door.

“It was the other son that was pretty much just crying out for help. He’s like ‘hey my house is on fire and my brother is still upstairs,’” Kadet said. “So the first thing that came to my mind was to run out and go help.”

But when he tried to help, Kadet said the flames had gotten too intense and there was no way to get to the young child.

“I felt hopeless. At this point — a kid comes to my house asking for help and I can’t be the superhero that I would like to be for him.”

Fire officials said it doesn’t appear there were any working smoke detectors in the apartment.

Officials have not released the name of the young victim, but Seminole County School officials told us he did attend Lake Orienta Elementary School.

Counselors are being brought in to help the other students.

As far as the smoke detectors — investigators will now have to figure out if they went off to alert residents of the danger.

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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.