Deadly Racine fire sparked by candle in bathroom

CREATED Nov 12, 2012 - UPDATED: Nov 12, 2012

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RACINE - A house fire on Linden Ave. that killed three young children was sparked by a candle in a bathroom, investigators said Monday.

"The investigation of this fire by the Racine Police and Fire Departments indicates the origin of the fire was a bathroom in the home," Racine Police Sgt. Martin Pavilions said.  "The cause of the fire appears to be a candle."

The fire killed Dayja, 9, Dalijah, 8, and Michael Scott, 7.  A fourth sibling, Luther Patterson, 5, remains in Children's Hospital recovering from serious injuries.

The fire happened at about 12:45 a.m. last 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.