EDMONTON — The father of a baby who died in a house fire says he tried to go back into his burning house three times, but couldn't get past the flames.
Cordell Brown said he was sleeping on the main floor of his southwest Edmonton home Tuesday morning when he woke to find his porch on fire.
Brown said his wife, Angie Tang, was asleep on the second floor with their son, five-month-old Hunter.
He said he tried to fight the fire with the garden hose before crews arrived.
"The fire was so intense," Brown said. "From the time that we noticed the fire, because it was very instant, the fire started in about two seconds and it engulfed the whole house."
Brown and six others who lived in the home were able to escape on their own. Firefighters rescued Tang and their baby. Hunter died of his injuries and Tang is in hospital, where she remains under sedation.
Brown said he and Tang had been trying to have a baby for about four years.
He said doctors brought her out of sedation briefly, and he and other family members told her that Hunter had died.
"Took eight of us to hold her down, she didn't take that very well and she was re-sedated," Brown said.
"Doctors were saying there was pretty serious damage to her lungs and all of her airway, and there are burns from the smoke because she was in the fire for almost 20 minutes," he said.
Brown said he and Tang had been trying to have a baby for about four years. He told Global News that his mother died of cancer last year and they used the inheritance money for fertility treatments.
"Hunter was a fertility baby, having Hunter was a $50,000 expense," Brown said. "We loved him to the moon and back. He was our most prized possession. Our dogs are dead."
Edmonton police say an autopsy done on the baby Wednesday determined he died of smoke inhalation. They say fire was deliberately set and have opened a homicide investigation.
We loved him to the moon and back. He was our most prized possession.
Brown urged anyone with information to call police, and had a message for whoever was behind the blaze.
"Whoever started the fire, I don't know if they did it as a prank or whatever, but it's past a prank now, people, you almost killed six or seven people, you did kill one person."
He is also offering a reward for any information that leads to an arrest.
Brown urged people to "do what's right" and get in touch with police.
"I've decided to offer a $25,000 reward for anyone who provides the information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the person or persons who, first of all, arsoned the house and, secondly, murdered my son as a result of the arson, and who attempted to murder myself and the rest of my family,'' Brown said Thursday.
"I hope that by offering this money, that I can make the streets of Edmonton safer, so that no other babies are murdered in this way, I think the people that did this are animals. They deserve to be in jail.''
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