HOUSTON - Three children died and four others were injured when a west Houston day care facility caught fire Thursday.
Firefighters were sent to a house in the 2800 block of Crestpark at Waypark shortly after 1:40 p.m. The house also serves as a day care facility called Jackie's Child Care, officials said.
Units arriving at the scene found two injured children outside the home and five more trapped inside. Firefighters rescued those inside and took all seven children to several Houston hospitals. All of the victims ranged in age from 18 months to 3 years old.
Houston Assistant Fire Chief Bill Barry said three of the children died after being taken to a hospital. No other information was available on the children who died or the conditions of those injured.
"This is a very trying time for this neighborhood," said Executive Assistant Chief Rick Flanagan of the Houston Fire Department.
"We had 10 EMS units on the scene, as well as several fire crews," said Barry.
Fire department sources told KPRC Local 2 that the blaze appeared to have started in the kitchen.
It is not yet known where the owner and children were at the time of the fire.
The director of the day care was transported to an area hospital as a precaution, officials said.
"You can understand someone that would be in charge of a facility like this and understanding the impact, they may be quite distraught. So, we want to make sure she's in the best of care," Flanagan said.
Neighbors who know the day care director said she was extremely upset.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Investigators said the house suffered little fire damage.
Jackie's Child Care has been inspected twice over the past three years by the Texas Department of Family Protective Services.
Two violations were found last year -- the facility was missing required carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers.
Both violations were corrected the next day, according to records.
The facility was licensed for a capacity of 12 children, from infants to prekindergarten.
The Houston Police Department Homicide Division has joined the HFD arson squad in the investigation. Police said they need to be involved in case charges are filed in the future.
Investigators said there is no suspicion of wrongdoing.
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