RACINE- A third child has died after a house fire in Racine early Thursday morning, a family spokesman confirmed Friday.
Michael Scott, 7, died of injuries suffered in the fire that killed his sisters Dayja, 9, and Dalijah, 8. Their brother, Luther Patterson, 5, remains in Children's Hospital.
The fire happened at about 12:45 a.m. Thursday in a home on the 1900 block of Linden Avenue. According to Fire Chief Steve Hansen, dispatchers heard children screaming when the mother made the initial 9-1-1 phone call.
"(She) had left the residence after trying to rescue her trapped children," said Hansen in a Thursday morning news conference.
Firefighters arrived four minutes after that initial call. When they got on scene, firefighters found an injured man. Paramedics assisted him on scene. They then found out that the room where the kids were trapped had bars on the windows.
Hansen said in a statement that firefighters were able to get one child out immediately, but it took about another 12 minutes to get two other children out, and another five minutes to get the fourth child out.
He said that the bars, heavy fire and smoke, and the amount of furniture blocking doorways made "search and rescue extremely difficult."
"The second fire crew entered the front door of the home and immediately encountered household furnishings which impeded the rescue operations," according to Hansen during his news conference.
One rescue crew went through a window.
Racine Fire and Police investigators were looking into the cause of the fire Friday afternoon. They believe the fire began in a first floor bathroom.
TODAY'S TMJ4's Todd Hicks confirms that We Energies shut off power at that home last month. William Scott says his sister got behind paying the bill.
"You have school, you have school clothes, school supplies, so coming off the extra money, it has to come from somewhere," says Williams Scott.
Utility companies cannot turn off power between November 1 and April 15. But because the power was already off, the company is not required to turn it back on until the family makes some kind of payment arrangements.
Fire investigators are still trying to pinpoint the cause of the fire, but want to give the family time to deal with their loss.
"There's still some things going on at the hospital, so I'm sure they're allowing for that so if someone has some information and they want to talk, we'll have to wait until that's done," says Timm Prideaux, division chief of fire prevention at the Racine Fire Department.
Racine Fire Capt. Brett Haller said these are the first fire deaths in the City of Racine this year.
Donations can be made to help the victims at any Educators Credit Union or any Associated Bank location under the "Scott Children Family Fund."
Also, Fratt Elementary School, where three of the four children attended, is accepting monetary donations. That includes gift cards and gas cards. No other items will be accepted because of space limitations.