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Fire at suspected meth lab kills 3 children

By the CNN Wire Staff
Passers-by pulled three children from a burning home in Lilburn, Georgia, on Thursday.
Passers-by pulled three children from a burning home in Lilburn, Georgia, on Thursday.
  • Three children killed as the result of a fire at a suspected meth lab
  • Police looking for suspect who attempted to douse fire with garden hose
  • Mother charged with drug trafficking

Atlanta (CNN) -- A suspected methamphetamine lab operating out of Lilburn, Georgia, house caught fire Thursday, resulting in the deaths of three children who lived there, according to police and fire officials.

Gwinnett County police are looking for a suspect whom firefighters found attempting to douse the fire with a garden hose when they arrived at the scene. The suspect, Ivan Gonzalez, left the scene after claiming 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.

The victims, whose names were not released, are an 18-month-old girl and two boys, ages 3 and 4. Passers-by 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," Gwinnett County Fire Department Capt. Tommy Rutledge said.

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

Gwinnett County Police Capt. Jake Smith said Gonzalez is charged with two counts of murder, with a third count pending. Neibi Brito, the victims' mother, is charged with drug trafficking, Smith said.

"The lack of responsibility is disturbing. We have a tragic case involving three young children," Smith said. "We're going to be professionals and not let emotions run high."

CNN's Cameron Tankersley contributed to this report.