Hot plate suspected in fire, 2 kids dead - FOX 32 News Chicago

Hot plate suspected in fire, 2 kids dead

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Three days before Christmas and the only decorations outside this Englewood home are flowers, cards and teddy bears in memory of the two toddlers killed in an early morning house fire.

A hot plate being used to heat the home is reportedly to blame. The youngsters were apparently home without any adults -- just two other kids who were only a little bit older.

"Had I would have known they were home alone with a hot plate, they could have stayed over here. I would have housed them overnight, all they had to do is ask," said Jacqueline Smith, a neighbor.

The young boy and girl killed in the fire were cousins - the little girl's older brothers, ages 4 and 7 were also home but survived.

"I saw a lot of smoke and I heard a loud explosion," said Isaac Smith.

"We believe we know what the cause is we're doing some final testing to make sure we know the exact cause but this right now has become a police matter due to the fact that the children were alone," said Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Jose Santiago.

The mother and aunt who left the children without supervision are being interviewed by police but have not been charged.

Just blocks away at the Englewood District Police Station, Santa greeted several families receiving gifts, food and holiday cheer.

The toy delivery was hosted by Latonya Harris' The Blessed Child Organization - Harris heard about the deadly fire first thing Saturday morning.

"I've signed up so many children through the Englewood area and the first thing I did was ran to my list and oh my God that address sounds familiar - were they on my list? They were not on my list but it just makes your heart hurt that they had to do that to keep warm and then a tragedy came behind that," said Harris.

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