Three children, home alone, injured in Wichita house fire

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WICHITA, Kansas – Neighbors saved three children who were trapped in a burning home Thursday evening.

Firefighters say the children, ages 4, 6 and 7, were home alone when a fire started in their house in the 3900 block of East Countryside Plaza.

“Fortunately, in this situation it could have been very tragic, but the next door neighbors heard the smoke alarm going off,” said Battalion Chief Joe Bickel, Wichita Fire Department.

Bickel says the actions of neighbors Kelley Riegle and Louise Thomason saved the children’s lives.

Riegle and Thomason were in their basement watching television when they heard a faint alarm. Riegle thought it was her car alarm and ran to check.

She saw smoke coming from the window of her neighbor’s house. She tried to open the front door of the burning home, but couldn’t.

“Heard some screaming inside, ran around to the back and I could hear them screaming that they couldn’t get out,” Riegle said.

When fire crews arrived, the neighbors already had the three children outside.

The 6-year-old child was in critical condition suffering from burns and smoke inhalation.

The 4 and 7-year-old children suffered smoke inhalation and were in serious condition.

Their mother arrived as an ambulance was about to take them to Via Christi on St. Francis. She went to the hospital with them.

Fire crews got the fire out. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The mother was later arrested on unrelated charges.  The Exploited and Missing Children’s Unit is still investigating.


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