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Toddlers Die In Fire, Mother and Aunt Face Child Endangerment Charges

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Tatiana Meakens and Britany Meakens are charged with endangering a child for deaths of two toddlers who died in a fire

Britany Meakens (top) and Tatiana Meakens (bottom)

The mother and aunt of 2-year-old Javaris Meakens and 3-year-old Jarivah Meakens are facing serious prison time after the toddlers died in a home fire on Saturday. The children were left home alone with their cousins: 7-year-old Darnell and 4-year-old Marquis at the time of the fire.

The mother of the children, 23-year-old Tatiana Meakens, and the children’s aunt, 22-year-old Britany Meakens, are facing two felony counts each of endangering the life and health of a child and two misdemeanor counts each of endangering the life and health of a child, according to a police statement. Autopsies found that both children died of carbon monoxide intoxication and inhalation of smoke and soot. The deaths were ruled accidental according to autopsy results revealed on Sunday. The surviving children said they were watching “Batman” cartoons before the blaze broke out at approximately 3:30 AM and took over their bedroom, killing the other two children.

 

When the fire started, everything shut off,” Darnell told reporters. “Auntie came to get us. When (she) saw the fire, she called all our names. When I opened the door, she told me, ‘Come on, the fire’s getting closer.’” Authorities said no adults were present to supervise the young children when the fire broke out. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but officials believe a hot plate that was being used to heat the room fell onto some clothes, which ignited the fire. Neighbors said there was no gas service at the house, which is why the hot plate was used to keep the home warm. The surviving children were taken into protective custody by the Department of Children and Family Services after staying with their next door neighbors throughout the night.

The two women are slated to appear in court on Monday.