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Man sought in deaths of 3 children in suspected meth lab fire

By the CNN Wire Staff
Neibi Brito is  charged with drug trafficking and Ivan Gonzalez is wanted on murder charges in connection with the fire Thursday.
Neibi Brito is charged with drug trafficking and Ivan Gonzalez is wanted on murder charges in connection with the fire Thursday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Man charged with three counts of murder in fire that killed three children
  • Authorities believe meth lab chemicals started the fire in Lilburn, Georgia
  • Police looking for suspect who attempted to douse fire with garden hose
  • Mother is charged with drug trafficking

Read more on this story from CNN affiliate WSB.

Atlanta (CNN) -- Investigators in Georgia were looking Friday for a man who left the scene of a suburban Atlanta house fire that killed three children, authorities said.

They said the fire was caused by a suspected methamphetamine lab in the Lilburn, Georgia, home.

Gwinnett County Police Capt. Jake Smith said Ivan Gonzalez had been charged with two counts of murder Friday, a day after firefighters found him attempting to douse the blaze with a garden hose.

Gonzalez, who Smith said received burns in the fire, told authorities he was a family member and was headed to the hospital to be near the children injured in the fire.

Gonzalez, who is not related to the children, never reached the hospital, authorities said. Authorities checked other area hospitals and did not find Gonzalez.

Gonzalez is described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall and 190 pounds, with a tattoo of the Virgin Mary on his leg.

The victims, whose names were not released, are an 18-month-old girl and two boys, ages 3 and 4. Passersby pulled the children from the burning building.

The children were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. One died Thursday and the others two died Friday morning.

"The children had significant burn injuries and significant smoke inhalation injuries," said Gwinnett County Fire Department Capt. Tommy Rutledge.

Rutledge said the fire started in a hallway between the kitchen and a stairwell in the center of the house.

Smith said a third murder count is pending against Gonzalez. Neibi Brito, the victims' mother, is charged with drug trafficking, Smith said.

"The lack of responsibility, of course, is disturbing," Smith said.

"We have a tragic case involving three young children, but we're going to treat it professionally and not let the emotions of it get in the way of the investigation in any way."

CNN's Cameron Tankersley contributed to this report