A Fremont family escaped a house fire late Thursday, except for a 13-year-old boy who died from smoke inhalation.
“It is with a heavy heart that I report that the victim in the fatal house fire was Augustus ‘Gus’ Larson,” Steuben County Sheriff Tim Troyer said in a statement.
Larson’s family was sleeping when an adult awoke to the smell of smoke. Everyone in the family was awakened, and they began leaving the house as it filled with heavy smoke, Troyer said.
The window screen in Larson’s upstairs bedroom was broken out, and authorities believe he did not want to jump to safety, so he went back into the home to find another way out, Troyer said.
The fire at Larson’s home at 6655 E. County Road 500 N. was reported at 11:47 p.m. Fremont police arrived first and found Larson’s family outside the house, which was engulfed in flames.
Police officers and firefighters tried to rescue the boy, but the fire kept them from entering the home, the sheriff said.
Several fire departments from the area helped battle the blaze, and it was brought under control at 1:17 a.m. Friday. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The boy’s body was found in his bedroom, and an autopsy showed that he died from smoke inhalation. He was an eighth-grader at Fremont Middle School, Troyer said.