Two children rescued in house fire

Published 12:10 am Thursday, June 2, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT A home on North Circle Drive in Natchez caught fire Tuesday night. Two of the occupants were transported to the University Medical Center in Jackson due to injuries caused by smoke inhalation.

NATCHEZ — A Tuesday night house fire sent two small children to a Jackson hospital for smoke inhalation after firemen kicked in the front door to rescue them.

A 3- and 5-year-old were locked inside the residence at 18 North Circle Drive by themselves when the fire started, Natchez Fire Chief Oliver Stewart said.

The children’s mother, Venicia Firley, 25, told police she was walking around the block when the fire occurred, Natchez Police Chief Mike Mullins said.

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Firley said Wednesday from the University of Mississippi Medical Center room where her sons were being treated that her children were supposed to be napping when she stepped out to exercise.

“Usually I let a neighbor or friend keep an eye on them, but I was trying to get out because it was getting dark,” Firley said.

She said her sons were asleep when she left.

“I had just slipped out the house for five or 10 minutes,” she said. “They were supposed to be napping.”

The door was locked, Firley said, because she did not want anyone to go into her house with her children at home.

Stewart said the fire was ruled accidental. The older child later admitted, reportedly, to playing with matches, which was determined as the cause of the fire. Stewart said matches were discovered at the scene during a fire investigation.

Firley descried the house fire as mostly smoke rather than flames. She said responders arrived only a few minutes after the fire started and got it under control, but that the situation was scary.

Mullins said Sgt. Ben Hewitt performed CPR on Kayvan Barideaux, 5, at the scene before Barideaux and Charvontae Buchannan, 3, were transported by ambulance to Natchez Regional Medical Center.

Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said a helicopter transported the children from Natchez to Jackson’s University of Mississippi Medical Center, where they were treated for smoke inhalation.

Firley said her boys will be discharged this morning and are doing fine.

“They didn’t have smoke in their lungs,” she said.

A neighbor placed the 911 call about the fire at 8:30 p.m. The Natchez Fire Department, police department and the sheriff’s office responded to the scene of the area off of Roselawn Drive.

Stewart said the fire was started in the living room at the front of the house. Flames reportedly consumed that room and its furniture, and the rest of the house had smoke damage, he said.

“It’s pretty well destroyed inside, a bunch of smoke damage,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield said firemen found the children in the back of the house after entering through the front door.

Stewart said Adams County Fire Marshal Aaron Wesley turned the investigation over to the State Fire Marshal’s office.

“Anytime when (a situation) has got children or someone inside, they call in the State Fire Marshal,” Stewart said.

Mullins said the police department forwarded a police report of the incident to the Department of Human Services.

“(The report was forwarded) to allow (DHS) to investigate the home situation since the mother was out of the house (during the fire),” Mullins said.

If the DHS determines any action requires criminal charges, the NPD will investigate the matter, Mullins said.

Firley said DHS contacted her Wednesday.

“I talked to (DHS representatives), and they said everything was fine,” she said.

The Department of Human Services was unable to be reached for comment following Firley.