Monday, October 12, 2015

Drunk Mpls Mother of 3 Fire Victims Not at Home At Time of Midnight Blaze

From the PioneerPress:

Minneapolis mother of 3 fire victims might not have been at home, police say
Police are investigating whether the mother of three children who died in a house fire Oct. 3 in North Minneapolis was at home when the fire broke out, as she told officials on the scene. 
Minneapolis police requested and received a warrant last week to collect the cellphone records of Taneisha Y. Stewart, 26, for the day of the fire. The records were collected as evidence of a potential crime, according to the text of the warrant, which was posted online by Minnesota Public Radio. 
Stewart's three children, ages 6, 5 and 23 months, were killed in the fire that was reported just before midnight Oct. 3. The cause of the fire has not been determined, but investigators said it appeared to have started near an oven that was being used to heat the home because the furnace's gas service hadn't been turned on. 
Stewart told investigators she was asleep on the first floor of the home when the fire started and ran outside to scream for help when she smelled smoke, according to police reports. Heat and smoke prevented her and neighbors from rescuing the children. 
Two of the children were found dead in a first-floor bedroom and the third, found on the second floor, died that night at a hospital. 
Fire investigators who spoke to Stewart at the scene said she did not smell of smoke and showed no signs of having been inside a burning building. She did, however, smell of alcohol.
Police Sgt. Sean McKenna wrote in his warrant request that he does not believe Stewart was in the Penn Avenue North home at the time of the fire. 
"The lack of a competent adult inside the home with three sleeping juveniles under the age of seven is a factor in the deaths of the children," McKenna wrote. 
Minneapolis police received the requested records from Sprint, according to the documents posted by MPR.