Mother and child die following apartment fire in Orange Park

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – A family says a devastating fire at an apartment in Orange Park claimed the life of a young boy, and on Wednesday, they said the child’s mother was taken off life support.

The fire happened Monday night at their home on Bentwood Lane. Alexis Fitzgerald and her son, Rozae, were both caught in the fire. Fitzgerald’s father said his daughter was taken off life support at 7:15 p.m.

“Alexis has no brain activity,” Erica Brown, Fitzgerald’s aunt, said earlier in the day. “She’s 100 percent on oxygen.”

Brown said that before her niece succumbed to the fire, Fitzgerald scrambled to save her son and her sister, Mackenzie. Her family said Fitzgerald opened a window, yelling out a warning to others within earshot.

In the chaos, Mackenzie, who is 15, made it out — and was hospitalized. Scott Blaswell is Mackenzie’s father.

“She’s still having some complications breathing. She’s still having some headaches and dizziness,” Blaswell said. “When I got to the scene that night, she was just covered in soot. So she’s having some bad coughs.”

But Fitzgerald and her son did not make it out.

Brown said the family was gathering before the decision was ultimately made to take their loved one off life support.

Fitzgerald’s organs, the family said, will be donated to save others.

The family told News4JAX the fire started at the electrical strip where their Christmas tree was plugged in. They said no smoke alarms went off.

A devastation beyond belief for 4-year-old Rozae’s father and Fitzgerald’s fiancé, Devyon Green.

“Alexis — she’s just a very outgoing person who takes care of everyone around her,” Green said. “She’s a wonderful mother and a wonderful fiancée to me.”

The family is planning a tribute to Fitzgerald and Rozae, specifically a “walk of life,” where the family has gathered at UF Health in Gainesville.

In talking to witnesses of the fire, they said firefighters did everything they could to save Fitzgerald and Rozae.

There is a GoFundMe account to help the family with medical and funeral expenses.

The family says the community was quick to show them overwhelming support, and for that, they’re grateful.

Devyon Green, Alexis Fitzgerald and Rozae Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald family)

About the Authors:

Scott is a multi-Emmy Award Winning Anchor and Reporter, who also hosts the “Going Ringside With The Local Station” Podcast. Scott has been a journalist for 25 years, covering stories including six presidential elections, multiple space shuttle launches and dozens of high-profile murder trials.

Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.