Fourth Child Dies After Day Care Fire

3 Children Remain Hospitalized

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Jessica Tata

HOUSTON - A fourth child has died after a home day care caught fire.

A house in the 2800 block of Crestpark at Waypark caught fire shortly after 1:40 p.m. Thursday. 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.

Three of the children, including Elizabeth Kojah, of Cypress; Kendyll Stradford, of Katy, both 20 months old; and Shomari Dickerson, 3, died Thursday after being taken to a hospital.

A fourth child died at a hospital on Saturday. That child?s identity has not been released.

Neighbors have said the owner, Jessica Tata, 22, was not at the home at the time of the fire.

Several neighbors said they saw Tata pull up to the home with grocery bags, and then realize the house was on fire. Witnesses said she yelled for help and neighbors tried to rescue the children, but the smoke was too heavy.

Of the surviving children, two were taken to Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston. They were listed in critical but stable condition with burns on less than one-third of their bodies. One child was in good condition at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

Fire Department sources told KPRC Local 2 that the blaze appeared to have started in the kitchen. Investigators said the house sustained 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.

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