Child killed in Midlothian daycare fire was strapped in car seat
CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A one-year-old killed in a fire at a Midlothian home daycare was found strapped into an overturned car seat by firefighters on the second floor of the home, according to the fire incident report.
Firefighters discovered Joseph Allen in an upstairs bedroom more than 25 minutes after crews arrived. They were able to rescue the toddler from the bedroom above the attached garage of the Valerie Court home on Tuesday and he was rushed to VCU Medical Center where he was admitted into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He later
A copy of the fire incident report obtained by NBC12 now reveal firefighters found "a car seat/carrier upside down" and say "when turned over a child was found strapped inside."
The documents also show the homeowner who was operating the day care was unable to give fire crews an accurate count of how many children were in her care, even after Joseph was rescued.
"At first she was sure that she was only taking care of seven [kids], We informed her that with the child that was transported to the hospital we counted eight children." reads a statement in the court records. "Between the paperwork and her list we counted ten children." Firefighters later were able to determine two children did not show up to the daycare.
The record also states the smoke detector did not alert occupants, though fire marshals have not given any indication as to whether they were functioning properly or not.
Click here to read the fire incident report: http://shout.lt/H77Q
Fire officials have said the homeowner was distraught to discover Joseph was still inside. A woman whose child was also in that home defended the daycare operator, who has more than 20 years of experience watching children in her home.
The daycare was not properly licensed, according to official records. While Chesterfield's Commissioner of Revenue confirmed the daycare provider had a business license, and records show a business name registration form for the daycare on file, daycares with six or more kids also need a conditional use permit and a license from the Department of Social Services. The home was not registered with either agency as county officials say is required.
Despite the death and lack of proper licensing, Virginia Department of Social Services will not be investigating this case. According to a Social Services spokesperson, there is no history of complaints made about the facility. The spokesperson went on to say the department will help police if it is contacted, but will not spearhead an investigation of its own.If criminal charges are filed in this case, those would come from the police department.
Saturday at noon at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Chesterfield. Visitation starts Friday at 5 p.m. at Bliley's Augusta Avenue location. Friends, family and complete strangers are raising money for Joseph's funeral. Seven hours after an online fundraiser launched, organizers have exceeded the $10,000 goal they set.
Authorities are only saying the fire started in the garage and it was accidental. An exact cause is not yet know.
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