By Robert Chaiken, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
Three children were tragically killed in a kitchen fire that occurred at the children’s Houston, Texas, residential daycare. Rick Flanagan, spokesman for the Houston Fire Department, said the victims ranged in age from 18-months to 3-years-old. The day care’s operator, 22-year-old Jessica Tata, was the only adult supervising the 7 children the day of the incident. According to Texas’ child care rules, Tata should not have been caring for more than 6 children older than 18-months. Michael McAndrews, a 50-year-old witness who lives near the residential day care, said Tata stated she went to the bathroom at the facility and upon returning the kitchen was on fire. When firefighters arrived at the scene, Tata and two injured children were outside the flaming home, the other five children were trapped inside. Firefighters had to use thermal imaging cameras to find some of the children. Firefighters had to perform CPR on 4 children, who were unresponsive. Some children sustained burns while others suffered from smoke inhalation. Jennifer Hart, spokeswoman for Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, stated that one child was transferred to the Shriners Hospital burn center in critical condition and two other children were at a Houston hospital, one also in critical condition and the other in good condition. Around a year ago, the facility, which is registered as a “child-care home,” was cited by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ Child Care Licensing division for not having a fire extinguisher. DFPS spokeswoman Gwen Carter said Tata had correct the problem. For more see 3 children tragically killed in a Houston, Texas, child-care home kitchen fire.
The deaths of these children are tragedies for their families and communities. Adult-to-child ratios are limited to enable the adult to provide adequate and proper supervision of each child in his or her care. Child supervision is key, if not primary, method in the prevention of child personal injuries and injury-related deaths in Texas Day Care Centers.