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Police: Toddlers Started Deadly Wis. Fire

January 30, 2005

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Two young boys playing with a cigarette lighter accidentally started a fire early Sunday that killed their three young cousins, police said.

The boys, ages 2 and 3, ran from the kitchen where the fire started in the second-floor apartment to a room shared by their 24-year-old mother and her 40-year-old sister, police Capt. Sue Edman said.

The women broke out a window and screamed, getting the attention of a man in an adjacent building, Edman said.

The neighbor broke his bathroom window and helped the women and boys across the approximate 6-foot space into his apartment, the officer said.

The women were overcome by smoke and couldn’t go back to rescue Iralisha S. Hinton, 6, Zaria I. Hudson, 3 and Zacarra A. Hinton, 2, who were sleeping in an adjacent bedroom, she said.

The mother of the girls, Aleisha K. Hudson, 22, had dropped the girls off earlier in the evening and returned after the fire started, Edman said.

Betty Hampton, 46, lives across the street and said she saw the women handing the children over to the neighbor.

``It was really sad, and it was sad that they couldn’t get out of the house,″ she said.

Fire department Lt. Lawrence Jenkins said smoke alarms in the apartment were not working.

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