Friday, April 8, 2011

Lighter started Englewood house fire that killed three children

[VIDEO] from ABC 7. The fire took place at 6758 S. Emerald Ave.

Write up from the Sun-Times:
A mother and father fought desperately to save their 10 childrens’ lives but couldn’t rescue three of them when a fire that was started accidentally by one of the children quickly spread through their Englewood home early Thursday.

Just minutes after one of Stacey Austin and Samantha Sims’ young children accidentally started the fire while playing with a disposable cigarette lighter, the 2 1/2-story frame home near 68th and Emerald on the South Side was engulfed in flames.

“I tried to get my babies out . . . but it was too late by that time,” said a distraught Austin, who was sleeping when the fire broke out just after 2 a.m.

Austin said he tried to douse the flames with water he brought from the kitchen in a pot.

Firefighters found 4-year-old Joseph Austin, his 2-year-old sister Dashiyah Austin and 10-year-old brother Stacey Austin Jr. in a back bedroom on the first floor. Dashiyah was dead. Joseph and Stacey Jr. were rushed to the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital but died there.

Austin said he and his wife thought everyone was out safely but realized after they were out that three were still inside.

“There were so many of them, 10 of them,” said the children’s mother, Samantha Sims, crying outside what remained of her home. “I tried so hard to take care of them.”

“He was just the happiest little fella I ever met in my life,” Austin said of the boy named after him.

Chicago Fire Department. spokesman Larry Langford said the fire began when one of the couple’s 10 children, playing with a lighter in his bedroom, accidentally started his bunk bed on fire. It quickly spread to the rest of the room, despite the parents’ attempts to extinguish the blaze using pots full of water, Langford said.
My heart goes out to this particular family. 

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