CHICAGO — The mother and aunt of two toddlers killed in a fire Saturday morning have been charged in connection with the children’s deaths.
Tatiana Meakens, 23, and Britany Meakens, 22, of the 6400 block of South Paulina, were each charged Sunday with two counts of causing the death of a child, a felony, and endangering the life or health of a child, a misdemeanor, police said.
Two of Tatiana Meakens’ children, Javaris, 2, and his 3-year-old sister, Jariyah, died when a hot plate sparked the blaze, authorities said. Two boys, ages 4 and 7, reportedly escaped the two-bedroom Englewood apartment unharmed. Police said the children were unsupervised when the fire started at 3:23 Saturday morning.
Autopsies performed on the children showed that they died of smoke and soot inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning, the Cook County medical examiner's office said.
A spokesman from the Department of Children and Family Services said the two surviving boys are in the department's care. DCFS spokesman Jimmie Whitelow said the department is investigating "allegations of neglect," but the department had no contact with the family before the fire.
The women are scheduled to appear in court Monday.