Father of fire victim gets child endangerment charge


Staff Writer

SAYREVILLE – Days after attending the funeral of his 5-year-old son, Kevin Sturgis surrendered himself to borough police Monday on a charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

Sturgis, 31, is accused of leaving his son, Erik, home alone March 4, when a house fire resulted in the boy’s death. The older Sturgis was at work at Wakefern Food Corp. in South Brunswick at the time of the fire.

Erik, who died of smoke and soot inhalation, was found by firefighters in an upstairs bedroom of the Deerfield Road home, according to investigators.

“It is simply unacceptable under the laws of the state of New Jersey to leave a 5-year-old child home alone under the circumstances in this case,” according to a statement released by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. The Prosecutor’s Office said Sturgis failed

in his legal duty to keep Erik safe

from harm.

Authorities said the boy was left home alone at 7 a.m., and Kevin Sturgis was not scheduled to return home until after 4 p.m. The fire took place around 11:21 a.m.

Authorities believe the fire started on a sofa on the home’s first floor. Among debris in the area was a butane lighter with a metal extender, commonly used for fireplaces and grills. The lighter was too damaged to determine if there was a childproof safety on it.

Borough police signed the criminal complaint against Kevin Sturgis Monday. He has since been released on his own recognizance. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. The matter will be presented to a grand jury.

The funeral for Erik Sturgis, who was a kindergarten student at Sayreville’s Arleth Elementary School, was held Thursday.