Heroic Efforts by Syracuse Police Officers Save Child from Intentionally set Fire on Palmer Ave.

On Thursday, March 4th, 2021, at around 12:18 P.M., Officers K. Fellows, and several other Officers responded to the intersection of Tallman St. / Hudson St. for a domestic call that originated from 126 Palmer Ave.  According to Syracuse Police, upon arrival, Officers located Eric Bowens, 56, and Jannelle Gerton, 33, who were having a dispute over the location of their two-year-old child.  Bowens had given temporary care of the child to Gerton earlier in the day at Gerton’s address of 126 Palmer Ave. When Bowens returned, Gerton left the residence by herself, and the child’s location was apparently unknown.

With the quick thinking of Officers on scene, they decided to check Gerton’s address, even though Gerton was adamant that the child was not there and was instead with a grandparent. When Officers responded to 126 Palmer Ave., they heard smoke detectors and smelled smoke.  Fearing that the child was inside, Officers immediately went into action. Officers tried the front door, but it was locked.  Officers quickly tried to find another entrance, and that is when Ofc. Fellows smashed out a front window and tried to climb inside. Ofc. Fellows initial attempts to get inside were blocked, as there was a mattress propped up in the window blocking his entry. Ofc. Fellows eventually pushed the mattress back and gained entry. A quick search was completed, and Ofc. Fellows found the 2-year-old child inside. Ofc. Fellows immediately ran her to a front exit and handed her to Ofc. Helterline. Helterline was outside and gave care to the child along with fire department and ambulance personnel on the scene.  The child was treated on scene for minor smoke inhalation.

The investigation revealed that Gerton had caused a fire in a bathroom and left the house while leaving her child behind. Gerton was ultimately arrested and charged with  Attempted Arson in the Second Degree, Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Gerton was lodged at the Onondaga County Justice Center.