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Child trapped in Midlothian daycare fire, inhaling heavy smoke at least 20 minutes

Posted at 12:57 AM, Oct 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-22 10:14:01-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. –Parents of children at a home daycare in Midlothian were seen running away from the charred home hugging their babies close on Tuesday, after a garage fire spread to the home.

One family learned their child didn’t make it out of the burning home with the other kids.

The cause of a fire is still unknown. What is known at this time is that one child remains in critical condition after being exposed to heavy smoke conditions.

Additionally, CBS 6 found no record of the daycare being licensed with the state of Virginia.

The state requires a license if a venue has more than five children being supervised, that aren’t related to the adult in charge.

The Midlothian home in 11700 block of Valerie Court held eight children when the fire, first reported at about 12:16 p.m., began blazing in the garage.

Lt. Jason Elmore said that when firefighters arrived the owner of the daycare told them the eight children in her care were out of the home, but that was not the case.

Still, Elmore said crews followed protocol and swept the home.

“Crews were reporting very heavy smoke conditions, smoke bank down to the floor, zero visibility,” Elmore said.

The smoke prevented crews from finding the little boy in a bedroom until roughly 35 minutes after firefighters were called to the scene.

“If they tell us there is someone in the home, we can do that focused search where they were last seen, but in this case that was not it,” Elmore said.

Elmore said the boy probably breathed in heavy smoke for 20 minutes, he was resuscitated at the scene and is in critical condition at VCU Medical Center.

“I understand the circumstances and being disoriented, but there is no excuse for that,” said Heather Lamont, who lives near the daycare and has a toddler at home. She said parents need to do their research when picking a daycare.

“Make sure you know who is watching your children, who is coming in on certain days, and how many there are,” she said.

Friends and family members of the in-home daycare provider said she she loves kids and was devastated by Tuesday’s fire.

They said she worked frantically to rescue the children, along with a neighbor who came over to help.