Another holiday tragedy: Young dad of 2 babies killed in house fire

Posted at 5:03 PM, Dec 22, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-23 13:49:11-05

STATEN ISLAND HOUSE FIRESTATEN ISLAND, N.Y.(PIX11) — Investigators are sifting through what’s left of a house that went up in flames Saturday morning, killing the 23-year-old father of two — ages two months and a year-old.

Authorities say the 2-story home at 210 Osgood Avenue — bordering on the Clifton and Park Hill sections — was decorated for the holidays when flames destroyed it and took the life of Jameek Champagne, just days before Christmas. This was sometime around 5:30 a.m.; it took 12 fire engines and 60 firefighters to get things under control about an hour later.

Champagne was pronounced dead at the scene.

First, Hurricane Sandy, then the school massacre in Connecticut, and now this. Neighbors say they feel overwhelmed.  As Jessica Poku told a NY1 reporter: “We honestly don’t really know what’s gonna happen next. I guess take every day as it comes I guess.”

Someone else told 1010WINS:“It’s like the worst Christmas that you could ever have… I just feel sorry for the family.”

According to Battalion Chief Richard Callery, firefighters discovered Champagne’s body in a third floor bedroom, which he said was incinerated, adding “trying to get upstairs all the way up to the top floor bedroom, and it was extreme fire conditions.”

There’s speculation the flames may’ve been sparked by a cigarette; the city Fire Marshall will make the final determination.

An autopsy has been scheduled to find out how Champagne died.