Authorities have determined that an unattended cigarette sparked an East Toledo house fire Wednesday that killed two young children and severely burned a third.
The lighted cigarette ignited a chair in the living room and then spread to a nearby couch, said Assistant Fire Chief Luis Santiago.
The fire was considered accidental, he said.
Destiny Wainwright, 10, and Meryoje Peacock, 7, were found dead in a bedroom on the second floor of the house at 516 White St., near Greenwood Ave. shortly after firefighters arrived about 6:30 a.m.
Unique Elliott, 15, who jumped out of a second story window to escape the blaze, remained in serious condition Thursday night at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.
Unique s mother, Lavette Mickles, 41, and Ida Hartfield, 50, the mother of the two children who died, were discharged from the hospital Thursday.
Anthony Richardson, 55, remained in fair condition, a spokesman said.
Ms. Hartfield told her sister, Brenda McKitric-Jackson, that initially she tried to put out the fire.
But when the blaze continued to gain intensity, she headed for the stairs to wake her children.
The fire had spread and was blocking the stairwell to the second floor so Ms. Hartfield yelled for her children to get out of the burning house, Ms. McKitric-Jackson said.
She was hoping they would jump out of the window, but they never came, a tearful Ms. McKitric-Jackson said of her niece and nephew. I think they were both too scared to jump.
Destiny, a fifth grader at Garfield Elementary, was an intelligent young girl, Ms. McKitric-Jackson said. She liked doing housework and helped take care of Meryoje.
Ms. McKitric-Jackson, who broke down several times while talking at the hospital Thursday, said Meryoje was full of energy.
That little boy was so full of life, she said. He d be in here jumping on the tables.
Ms. McKitric-Jackson said her sister, who works as a clerk for the Lucas County Board of Elections, was more than willing to help anybody in need.
Ms. Mickles and her daughter were staying with Ms. Hartfield until they could move into their new apartment.
She would go out of her way 110 percent to help somebody, Ms. McKitric-Jackson said.
Ms. McKitric-Jackson said Ms. Hartfield is trying to grasp the reality that her two young children are dead.
She wants to hold her babies one last time, she said. Right now, she s numb.
Contact Laren Weber at:firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6050.