On the evening of April 4th, the night before Easter, two children aged 1 and 3 years old died in a minivan fire that is being called accidental by investigators. Apparently a child accidentally started the fire and no charges will be filed because of the child’s age. The names of the deceased and anyone involved have not been released.
I do not usually report on these kinds of stories but I happened to be driving down East Sahara when I saw a major police presence, crime scene, and news vans in the Arcadia Palms apartment complex. I drove in and got my cameras ready, and took some pictures from outside the crime scene tape. I did not know what to expect but certainly couldn’t fathom the extent of the horror of what had taken place.
I ran into a couple who was stuck outside of their apartment with their cat, who had been outside a few hours, instructed by police not to return until told. I interviewed the male, Sebastian, who partially witnessed too late, whose girlfriend saw the car on fire.
“She heard kind of screaming and popping sounds, and she’s like ‘hey you hear that, should we be worried?’ You know, we have all these kids that come outside of our house and just play so we had the assumption that it was kids, I was like ‘don’t worry about it, it’s probably nothing’, and then it went on for longer, and it was a continuous screaming, like yelling. So she was kind of like ‘no we need to go check it out’, so we went to the window in our apartment which faces the parking lot. And I lifted the blinds open just enough to peek out, and as I did that there was a bunch of smoke billowing across the window and some really loud, like, popping sounds. It wasn’t like bangs but it was like pops,” Sebastian recounted.
Here is the entire interview:[youtube:http://youtu.be/-ngsHN5Z_Jw%5D
A couple hours before, a series of loud and accelerated “pops” from about a mile away caught the attention of a friend and myself, and I thought it had sounded like fireworks. I remarked on this and my friend replied, “I hope so”… but I didn’t think they sounded like gunshots so I thought/also hoped no one was hurt in relation to those sounds. It is horrific to think those might have been the sounds that led to the death of two small children… the entire scene was unthinkably horrific.
At first, it was being considered a homicide, which was even more unfathomable to contemplate, but terribly tragic accidents like this are possible. I am not sure why the parent or parents did not check on their children sooner or notice any problem through all the screaming and smoke, or if it was already too late, but this should be a reminder to all to be aware of where your children are at all times. A split second could ruin and take multiples lives forever. I cannot imagine the pain that family is feeling.