POSTED: 12:45 p.m. HST, Feb 24, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 07:15 p.m. HST, Feb 24, 2011
HOUSTON >> A fire swept through a home day-care center today, killing three children and injuring four others, officials said.
The blaze broke out at Jackie's Child Care, which was being run out of a house in western Houston, Assistant Fire Chief Bill Barry said.
Firefighters arriving at the scene found two children who had been injured outside the home and five more trapped inside. They rescued those inside and took all seven children to four Houston hospitals. The children ranged in age from 18 months to 3 years old.
Three of the children died after being taken to a hospital, Barry said. No other information was immediately available on those who died or the conditions of those injured, but fire department spokesman Rick Flanagan told the Houston Chronicle that cardiopulmonary resuscitation was being performed on four children as they were being taken to the hospital.
Authorities were investigating the cause of the blaze.
Neighbor Michael McAndrews, 50, told the Chronicle that center operator Jessica Tata was outside the center during the fire yelling frantically, "My kids, my kids, pray for them."
McAndrews said Tata told him that she had gone to the bathroom and returned to find the kitchen on fire.
Another neighbor, Sandy Sawyer, said she saw firefighters rushing children to ambulances.
"I saw them running down the street holding babies, running, because there wasn't enough room for the emergency vehicles to get through," she told the Chronicle.
Sawyer said when Tata was outside she thought there were still two children in the residence.
"She thought two of them crawled out of their cribs and didn't know where they were," Sawyer said.