Seeley fire victims remain critical

January 03, 2002|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

A mother and three of her children remained in critical condition today in a San Diego hospital two days after their Christmas tree caught fire in their Seeley home.

According to the American Red Cross, Rebecca Juarez, 40, and three of her children were being treated at the University of California San Diego Medical Center burn center.

Sylvia Preciado, director the Red Cross for Imperial County, said Juarez suffered burns over 50 percent of her body and was in critical condition.

Her children, boys ages 9, 6, and 1, were critical but two were in critical but stable condition, Preciado said.

All the boys suffered burns over 20 to 40 percent of their bodies. Preciado said the 1-year-old is "faring the best" and is one of the two children who is critical but stable. She was unsure which of the two other children is stable. A hospital spokeswoman said only that all four are in critical condition.


The four were burned when a fire broke out in their home Tuesday.

According to the Imperial County Fire Department, the family's Christmas tree caught fire when a family member tried to plug in the Christmas lights.

The tree was quickly engulfed in flames and the fire spread in the living room.

Juarez tried to get her children out through a back door but she could not open it, fire officials said.

She then took her children out of the house through the front door, which was blocked buy the burning Christmas tree. Fire officials said the family had to pass through flames to get out of the house.

Preciado said Juarez has a fourth child who was not home when the fire started. That child is being cared for by other family.

Haywood Bell, a local volunteer for the Red Cross, was in San Diego today. Bell, a member of the Shriners, was working to see what help Shriners could provide to the family, Preciado said.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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