Gloversville honors child after fire

GLOVERVILLE – Twelve-year-old Keaira Rivera received a standing ovation at Monday’s Common Council meeting.

Mayor Dayton King and the Common Council presented the child with a proclamation declaring Keaira a small-town hero after she helped her brother and sister get out of a house fire on Fifth Avenue last week.

The fire claimed the life of Donald E. Larimore, who was staying at the 34 Fifth Ave. house, and destroyed the building.

“Twelve-year-old Keaira Rivera is a hero,” King said. “On Wednesday, March 20, 2013, a fire broke out at her home and Keaira jumped into action and was able to get her 4-year-old brother and 2-year-old sister out of the burning building safely.”

King said she showed courage and bravery at a time of crisis and uncertainty.

An emotional Keaira was unable to comment about her actions Monday night. Her mother, Jamie Ormanion, said the children and family are still shaken up from the tragedy.

“I applaud her for having the presence of mind and the ability to react to the situation to notify the adults in the residence and to get her sister and brother out of the house safely,” Fire Chief Beth Whitman-Putnam said. “She did a great thing.”

First Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth also praised Keaira for her efforts.

“I thought it was wonderful and she is an amazing young girl,” Wentworth said this morning. “She did a great job alerting her younger brother and sister and keeping her family safe. I am very happy she was given the award last night.”

Whitman-Putnam said this morning she can’t say yet what caused the fire.

Larimore died of smoke inhalation during the fire. Marcus E. VanSlyke, 66, who lived in the house, was injured.

The Fire Department said firefighters were dispatched to the fire at 9:02 p.m. March 20.

The residence is a two-story, one-family residence, and there were two adults and three children in the house at the time of the fire.

The fire severely damaged the first and second floors and the attic of the single-family home, said Whitman-Putnam.

She said there was extensive fire, heat, smoke and water damage.

Firefighters entered the home and found Larimore.

VanSlyke, who was outside the residence when firefighters arrived, was taken to the hospital. He has since been released, Whitman-Putnam said.

Firefighters encountered a “heavy fire condition” with fire coming from two first-floor windows on the north side of the structure and a heavy smoke condition from the attic area and eaves, a news release said.