Fourth Child Dies After Day Care Fire in Houston

Police investigate whether operator had gone shopping beforehand

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 26, 2011 4:52 PM CST

(Newser) – A fourth child died today after a day care fire in Houston last week, as police investigate whether the woman who operated it out of her home left the kids unsupervised while she went shopping, reports KTRK-TV. Three other toddlers were injured, and two of them remain hospitalized. "There's no question she went shopping," a law enforcement source tells the Houston Chronicle. "They're trying to determine exactly when she returned, although it was a very close proximity (in time) to the fire."

Two witnesses say the woman, 22-year-old Jessica Tata, arrived home with groceries and immediately began screaming for help when she entered the house. Tata hasn't been charged, and she was briefly hospitalized for injuries she got while pulling the kids out. Her brother denies she ever left the house. All the kids were between 18 months and 3 years old. AOL News has a roundup here.

Emergency personnel respond to the Houston day care fire.
Emergency personnel respond to the Houston day care fire.   (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Michael Paulsen)
Emergency personnel respond to the Houston day care fire on Thursday.
Emergency personnel respond to the Houston day care fire on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Michael Paulsen)
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