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

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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.

14 comments

    • Ron Melancon

      You are so right. But we are all guilty of not addressing this even myself because you don’t want to rat out your neighbor because you want somebody else to be the bad guy….. Yes I am also part of the ignorance becsuse I didn’t speak out on others

  • Paula

    What was she doing after she thought that all the kids was out? Did she count them? Was smoke in her head? Do she know how to count. If the fireman had not did a check and found the child when would she have realize a child was missing, when the mom came?

  • Ron Melancon

    Do your homework. Was this licensed ? 8 to one way over capacity. Cash operation? Did she report the income? Does she have a Tin Number? No wounder Governments are strapped for cash and now a child is in critical condition…. Instead of addressing issues like this our government goes after people who bakes cupcakes…… Everyone who reads this knows of an illegal day care operation in your own neighboorhood. All you have to do is see the children being dropped off every morning…. Why does it have to affect your family before you act?

  • Kathy Chamberlain

    Can we please stop focusing on whether or not the home daycare was licensed because that will come out and be handled as part of the investigation. What we have here is a family without a home, a child seriously injured, and other parents of children being cared for there dealing with the stress yesterday of receiving a troubling phone call about the incident. This woman has been providing daycare services for 24 years, so obviously she loves what she does—licensed or not. Rather than posting negative comments, keep all the families in your thoughts and prayers and they deal with this.

  • Kimmy

    The neighbor, Heather Lamont, has FANTASTIC advise and HUGE ASSUMPTIONS. While parents should do their research, yes, but many parents who drop their children off at “homes” are well aware that it’s not a licensed daycare and that there a “a lot” of children there. The huge costs of leaving children at a reputable licensed daycare, unfortunately, causes parents to risk safety for savings. No one thinks anything will go wrong, unfortunately, until something goes wrong. My heart goes out to the family of the child who died and to the family of those who cannot stop thanking their heavenly stars that they were fortunate enough to take their child home with them.

    I don’t know how the provider could have forgotten the baby, but I also don’t know how long she’s been caring for the baby in comparison to the other children. Also, some people forget how to find their way home, forget the names and faces of their own children, don’t remember they were married….in other words, we don’t know how “altogether there” the provider is or is not.

    • Sarah

      If she is not “altogether there” or even partially there, she shouldn’t be caring for one child not to mention eight! Hopefully you do not have children. God forbid a bus driver leaves them on the bus one day after school or they get left on a field trip. I bet you wouldn’t want someone coming up with a lame excuse like you gave…”Sorry Mom, but your child has only road the bus (been in his/her class) for this school semester. Not as long as the others that were accounted for. “

      • Kimmy

        Sarah, you took my comment totally out of context. Don’t be so quick to make assumptions that someone is making “excuses” for the woman. Prior to my stating no one knows how “altogether there” the childcare provider was, I wrote about how parents will often “risk” SAFETY for SAVINGS. The latter comment that apparently got you all up in a stir was simply referencing when you “risk” SAFETY for SAVINGS you may end up with someone is not “altogether there”. One of the reasons the state mandates how many children are allowed PER ADULT provider is for this very story we all are commenting on. We don’t know this lady’s medical story or mindset. In an emergency, someone keeping eight children may very well not recall an infant they’ve only been taking care of for two days but they’re likely to remember those who have been with them longer. Especially if they have other factors going on with them which is what I eluded to in my first posting. It’s not making excuses, it’s validating why one person cannot legally provide childcare services for more than what the state allows. Don’t be so quick to attack. Consider what was actually said and think about the context.

  • Tanya Grubbs

    There are no words to describe what happened to poor little Joseph Allen. What a horrible and tragic end to such a precious life. The only child of a couple and only grandchild of an entire family -GONE – because a child care provider could not count the children -I do not care how distraught someone is -THE FIRST PRIORITY should have been to count the children even if she was a 150% cetain-or at least told the fire department there were 8 children -something-this is so senseless !!! I am beyond angry !!!

  • Jenn

    I read another article on this fire. It said 2 things. One was that she DID have a business license for this daycare, but she needed to get another license because she had over 6 children in her care. It also said she had gone in and gotten ALL of the children out. My guess is, that in that process, one may have gone back in for some reason and she was not aware. Humans of all ages do strange things sometimes. Regardless, I will especially pray for the family of this child that died. But I will still pray for all involved as well. I cannot imagine.

    • Nancy Thorndike

      Joseph was found strapped in a car seat upside down in the upstairs by himself…no excuse for this lady to forget him..she had been watching him for months….

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