Officials are crediting a police officer with saving the life of a 3-year-old girl who was caught in a house fire that killed her 5-year-old sister.
Authorities will determine Wednesday whether to pursue an investigation into a house fire Monday that killed Santana Chavez and injured six other children.A 12-year-old baby sitter had turned on three burners and oven in the frame home of Chris and Elaine Chavez to keep warm while she tended their six children, ranging in ages from 3 to 12.
Metal cabinets above the burners heated up and ignited the surrounding walls and ceilings.
"That was our conclusion: It went up across the top of the ceiling and through the rest of the house," said Fire Chief Dale Slaugh.
"They rescued one little girl out of a front bedroom when we got there with the fire equipment, and they told us where she was," said Slaugh.
"We tried to get in the doorway that was in the back, and the bed was right up against the door. So finally we had to chop the door into pieces to get there, and one of the fireman reached across the bed and felt her hand."
Santana Chavez was dead at the scene of the 11:20 p.m. Monday fire. An autopsy performed Tuesday showed the 5-year-old died from smoke inhalation, said Police Chief Robert Downard.
Downard said he will meet Wednesday with the officer who witnessed the autopsy to determine whether to continue investigating the case.
Leasha Chavez was in stable condition and Christine Chavez serious condition at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, a nursing supervisor said. Four other children were released from Ashley Valley Medical Center.
Downard credited officer Pat Eden with saving Leasha's life. Eden and neighbor Dave Todich "went through the window and got the 3-year-old out. She wasn't breathing and he did some rescue breathing techniques and got her breathing again.
"He ruined a uniform, but that's about it. We'll trade that any day," the chief said.
The mother returned home shortly after the fire broke out, officials said. The father was in Salt Lake City at the time of the blaze.