Two kids who survived fatal house fire in Hammond released from hospital
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent January 11, 2014 9:50PM
Services were held Monday for the three children killed earlier this month in a fire at the family's duplex, pictured here after the blaze, in Hammond, Ind. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 13, 2014 7:08AM
HAMMOND — The two surviving children in a house fire that claimed the lives of three young siblings Wednesday night were released from Stroger Hospital in Chicago on Saturday night while their father remained in critical condition in the Cook County Burn Unit, a hospital spokeswoman confirmed.
The children, ages 6 and 2, had been listed in good condition, having suffered smoke inhalation.
Their father, Andre Young, 27, suffered third-degree burns in the blaze, which Hammond fire officials believe was caused by a propane-fueled space heater in a home where the utilities had been disconnected for months.
Their mother, Michelle Young, was not in the house at the time of the fire, but appeared across the street at some time, apparently in shock, fire officials said.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Pittman, a relative of the Young family, said funeral arrangements have been made for the three children who perished in the blaze, but she would not release details.
Four-year-old Dasani, 3-year-old Alexia and their 7-month-old brother, Jayden, suffered burns and died less than two hours after firefighters arrived at the home.
The first Hammond firefighters arrived at the house at 644 Sibley St. at 10:26 p.m. and found a badly burned Andrew Young in the snow with the two surviving children. Chief Fire Inspector Michael Opinker said they found the front and the side doors of the home blocked by clothes, furniture and other debris.
Hammond fire officials and the state fire marshal said they are 90 percent sure that a space heater connected to a propane tank — which Opinker called a “dangerous setup” — likely sparked the fire. Candles were found in the area where the fire started — a downstairs front room where the children were found.
Hammond Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Margraf had said it appeared that Andre Young had pulled two of the children to safety.
A family living in an upstairs apartment in the house were able to get out safely.
Hammond city officials said the house was on the brink of being declared uninhabitable. They said it lacked electrical service, running water and gas for at least six months, and Hammond officials were desperately trying to take action, with a court hearing scheduled for Jan. 16.
Donations to the family can be made through The Young Family Benefit Account, which has been set up at First Midwest Bank through a family member.
A bank spokesman said donations can be made at any First Midwest Bank location in Northwest Indiana and Illinois.