(CBS) – The city of Hammond, Ind. says the fire that killed three children could have been prevented.
Jayden, Alexis and Dasani Young all died in an apartment fire earlier this week. Hammond workers had been trying to inspect the building before the tragedy happened.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports.
Stephanie Pittman says her 6-year-old grandson, Isaiah, who was rescued from the fire, told her paper in a space heater caught fire. When the boy tried to smother the fire with a Spider-Man blanket, it, too, caught fire, she says.
Jayden, who was six months old, was near the heater, which had been plugged into a neighbor’s electricity.
“He said the baby was too heavy and he couldn’t carry it out,” Pittman said.
Jayden; his 3-year-old sister, Alexis; and 4-year-old brother, Dasani, all died. Isaiah and two-year-old Evian were rushed from the home by their father, who was seriously injured.
Pittman says her daughter, Michele, was home when the fire started and was doing her best to raise the children. Their father, Andre, is a landscaper, who has recently been out of work. The home had no running water, heat or electricity.
Hammond court records show the property the Young family had been renting is owned by Real Estate Equity Solutions of Indiana LLC. Since last May, the city had been trying to get the company to allow inspectors into the rental property, as required by city ordinance.
The company was even fined $2,500 in August for non-compliance. In a statement, the Hammond city attorney says officials had been trying to inspect the property, and likely would have marked the home as “uninhabitable.”
“There were horrible consequences of this delay. This tragedy has impacted our entire City. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by this event,” the attorney, Kristina Kantar, said in a statement.
The attorney for the real estate company has not returned calls for comment.
The only official fund for the Young family is located at First Midwest Bank in Hammond, under the name The Young’s Family Benefits.