House fire that killed 1 child, injured another started when kids tried to light candle

Published On: Feb 15 2013 02:13:31 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 15 2013 02:52:08 PM EST

Fire investigators say the house fire that killed a boy and critically injured his brother in Detroit, appears to have been accidently started by one of the children.

Investigators said the fire started in the bedroom of a home in the 500 block of Tarnow Street on Jan 29.

Firefighters pulled the two brothers from the fire, but 6-year-old Michael Chavez died.

His 4-year-old brother, Julio Chavez, remains hospitalized in "extremely critical" condition. He may have suffered permanent brain damage.

Sources told Local 4 the boys were home alone because their mother worked nights and was forced to leave her children while she worked to support the family.

Investigators believe the boys were playing with either matches or a lighter while attempting to light a religious candle.

The children closed the bedroom door once the fire started and ran to the bathroom in hopes of containing the fire, say investigators.

The boys were taught not to leave the house while their mother was away and neighbors, who didn't speak English, were unable to able communicate to fire crews that the boys might be inside the house.

Crews say some neighbors fled the scene for fear of deportation.

The officer in charge of the fire investigation says he won't pursue criminal charges against the mother. His findings were sent to Child Protective Services for review, and it is unknown if CPS will pursue charges.

Watch: Where was EMS when child needed CPR after Detroit fire?

Firefighters previously expressed their sadness and outrage on Facebook - upset that no medic came to the house to help the boys. A source with Detroit EMS is also furious over the decisions made Tuesday morning. The source told Local 4 that medics from a station at Joy and Southfield were called to the fire, when two other ambulances are stationed closer to the house.  One of those ambulances was out on a what’s being called a "minor" run when the fire broke out, the next closest ambulance, Local 4 was told is broken down. 

Donations to help the grieving family:

Donations are being accepted at the family's church:

St. Hedwig Church
3245 Junction Ave.
Detroit, MI 48209


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