Four Children, Trapped By Security Bars, Die In Hialeah, Florida Fire

Three girls, including a 6-month-old baby, and a teenage boy were killed early Sunday when a fire tore through their home, which became a prison with wrought-iron bars covering all doors and windows


Xiomara Eyan, next-door neighbor to the house that burned, said police banged on her door about 1 a.m., yelling for her to get out.

Outside, she said, she saw fire-rescue workers performing CPR on one of the boys and another boy being taken away in an ambulance. She said Auguste was "screaming in front of the house."

Eyan said Auguste seemed devoted to the children. "I feel bad that so many children suffered," she added.

Police were trying to contact the 13-year-old's father on Sunday to notify him of the tragedy. If the father cannot be found, the boy will be put in custody of the Florida Department of Children & Families, Gracia said.

Records from the Florida Department of Corrections show that Auguste was convicted in 1985 of aggravated child abuse and was sentenced to five years of probation. Details of the case were unavailable Sunday.

Court records also show she was awarded $1.5 million in February 2001 in a medical malpractice suit she filed against the Economic Opportunity Health Center after her daughter Rose Auguste was born with an injured shoulder. Auguste alleged negligence on the part of the doctor and midwives involved in the birth.

Miami-Dade County records show the home was in both Auguste's and the child's name.

Police said DCF removed children from the home about two months ago, and they were returned days later, but could not say why they were removed. DCF officials would not comment.

Researchers Cindy Kent and Tracy Ahringer contributed to this report.