Father seeks answers after son’s death in fire
‘I would have run through flames and died with my child so he wasn’t alone.’
Chance Landry says his son’s death will haunt him for the rest of his life.
At just three years old, Cayden Decker-Landry died after fire broke out in the basement apartment of a family member’s home at 240 Golden Orchard Dr., where the boy and his mom were living.
“Cayden was the kid that had enough life in him to pick everyone around him up when they were down,” said his dad in Sudbury, where he lives.
“If you had a bad day, he would just stand in front of you and hold his finger in his nose just to make you laugh, or to get your mind off whatever was bothering you.”
Now Landry says he’s consumed with the thought that his son was alone and scared during his last conscious moments.
“I would have run through flames and died with my child so he wasn’t alone.”
Neighbours said his mom, Susan Decker, was upstairs when the fire happened around 10 a.m. May 1. She came out crying that her baby was downstairs.
By the time firefighters arrived, flames were shooting out of the basement window. They searched for several minutes before finding the blond boy, who by then had inhaled too much smoke.
At the time of the fire, Cayden’s parents were in the midst of a custody battle, with his dad wanting the three-year-old to return to Sudbury and live with him and Chance Jr., his 10-year-old brother.
The boys also have a sister who lives at another address. The death notice also says Cayden has another brother.
At the scene this week, the basement apartment windows remained boarded up. Smoke damage stains the front entryway. A damaged high chair leans against the side of the house.
Messages to Decker and other family members were not answered.
A GoFundMe account set up by a family to support funeral expenses called the fire a “tragedy.” Cassandraa Buckland, a cousin, said: “Cayden’s mother Susan is OK, but an emotional wreck at this time.”
The Hamilton police homicide unit is leading the investigation into the death because of a provincial protocol mandating police investigate all sudden deaths of children under five.
“There is no sense that (the fire) was deliberately set,” said Det. St. Peter Thom.
The Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal is assisting with the investigation, working to reconstruct the fire scene offsite to help determine the exact cause.
Thom said the investigation, including waiting for a fire marshal’s report, is expected to take months.
Landry met with Thom when he came to Hamilton for his son’s funeral last week.
Cayden was “the happiest little guy,” Landry said, recalling a busy, but fun week he spent with his son in March — the last time he saw him.
Landry said he had expressed concern about Cayden’s safety before the fire, particularly after the boy had allegedly been found wandering outside unsupervised.
Thom said police are aware of the “family dynamic” and will investigate that if necessary.
Now Landry said he needs to find answers to what really happened.
“I will advocate for him from here on out, and will not give up till I know exactly what happened that horrific day.”
Cayden Decker-Landry, 3, died when a fire broke out in a Mountain home where he and his mother were staying.