Southeast D.C. fire: Four rescued; child in critical condition; man arrested
A 4-year-old girl continues to fight for her life Monday, a day after she was rescued from a burning home in Southeast Washington.
Now, arson investigators continue to investigate what caused the 33rd Street home to go up in flames, which forced seven people to be rescued.
"It's still under investigation,” says Steven Avato, an ATF supervisor. “No conclusions have been formed. There's still data we're trying to analyze."
D.C. Fire officials say the fire broke out in the basement of a home in the 2600 block of 33rd Street SE at about 3:45 a.m. Sunday. The heat was so intense that officials say the home's siding began to melt.
In total, seven people were in the home when it caught fire and four had to be pulled out. The most seriously injured was the 4-year-old girl, who went into cardiac arrest and first responders were forced to administer CPR to revive her.
As a search for the fire's cause continues, family members say that they're concerned that the fire may have been set on purpose. Investigators say that while combing the house, they found a matchbook stained with blood. It's unknown whether or not it's connected to the fire's origin.
Residents say that the owner of the home, who lived in the basement, attempted to kick the mother of the critically-injured girl and threatened to kill her. He was charged with simple assault and making a threat.
That man, though, has not yet been charged in connection with the fire itself.
The mother of the 4-year-old critically injured in the fire briefly left her daughter's bedside.
"She wanted to see the damage for herself,” says Morgan Ford, a family friend. “It's surprising to her, especially the side of the home where the siding is melted. That's very disturbing to her."