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Fla. firefighters rescue kids from fire, find mother stabbed to death

Daytona Beach firefighters initially rescued three kids who were in critical condition; the youngest child, a 1-year-old, later died at the hospital

Family Killed Florida

A investigator looks over the fire damaged unit at the Countryside Apartments in Daytona Beach, Fla., Tuesday morning, Nov. 21, 2023. Firefighters responding to an early morning fire in Florida found the body of a woman who had been fatally stabbed, and her three critically injured children. The youngest child was found in a nearby crib and died after being taken to a hospital on Tuesday. (David Tucker/The Daytona Beach News-Journal via AP)

David Tucker/AP

By Irene Wright
The Charlotte Observer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Firefighters responding to an apartment fire in Florida found a woman fatally stabbed and three children in critical condition inside, police said.

Just before midnight on Nov. 20 , the Daytona Beach Fire Department responded to a “structure” fire where smoke was billowing out of an apartment building, according to a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

When they arrived, they found a mother and three children inside.

All four people were pulled from the fire, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said in a Nov. 21 news conference streamed by WOFL.

“I’m sad to report that the mother is deceased. With regards to the three children, their ages are a 1-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old,” Young said. “The 1-year-old was transported to (the hospital) but is also deceased. The 4- and the 5-year-old are over at (another hospital) receiving treatment, but they are still alive, but in critical condition.”

While the cause of death for the baby has not been determined, Young told WOFL the child was found in a crib and in cardiac arrest when first responders arrived.

The mother had been stabbed to death, Young said.

Daytona Beach Fire Department Lt. Antwan Lewis told WOFL the fire had two “points of origin,” which was unusual and suggested the fires had been started intentionally.

Young said the deaths were being investigated as homicides.

“This is a horrific incident,” Young said. “We are literally two days out from a holiday that centers around family, and this is what we are here dealing with this morning.”

The family has not been identified, pending notification of their next of kin, Young said.

Police did not release any information on a possible person of interest.

Daytona Beach is about 90 miles south of Jacksonville.

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