a history of child neglect in ypsi fire case

In February, an apartment fire claimed the lives of three children here in Ypsi. The mother of the children, as you might recall, had left the small children alone with something cooking on the stove. Well, according to the “Ann Arbor News,” it may not have been an isolated incident. It seems that one of the children had almost died several years ago after being left alone in a bathtub. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The mother of the three children killed in a February apartment fire was convicted four years ago of child neglect after her then 10-month-old son nearly drowned in the bathtub, newly released records show.

A 12-year-old girl pulled Christopher Barginere II, unconscious and not breathing, out of six inches of water, according to a Washtenaw County Sheriff’s report of the 2002 incident released under a Freedom of Information Act request by The News. Tirenda Mitchell was convicted the next year of child neglect and placed on probation.

Christopher was one of the three children who perished in a Feb. 8 fire, which authorities said started after Mitchell left them alone in her Ypsilanti apartment with the stove burning…

As distasteful as it is to blame a parent after such a tragedy, one has to wonder if perhaps it’s warranted in this particular case. One also wonders if these children were receiving adequate services from Washtenaw County’s children’s protective agencies. I suspect there’s an internal investigation underway, and I look forward to hearing the results. It would be a shame if, given the history of neglect, there weren’t proper protective measures in place.

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4 Comments

  1. UBU
    Posted April 7, 2007 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I think E. Howard Hunt was involved…

  2. egpenet
    Posted April 7, 2007 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    My sense from involvement locally in a couple of situations is that neighbors, friends and families know about the “alleged neglect” but know that we cannot impose middle class standards on poverty situations. The lifestyle pattern isn’t going to change because the “state” dictates that it change. Not only the children suffer, but we suffer their loss, as well.

  3. mark
    Posted April 7, 2007 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate your point, Ed, but keepingone’s kids safe and alive isn’t a middle class standard. Plenty of people, from all walks of life, are able to do it.

  4. mark h
    Posted April 8, 2007 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I agree, Mark – keeping children safe is not a “middle class standard,” its an age old aim of parents from all classes. And the child safety protections in our society are very, very weak. And in the case at hand, the press reported after the fire that the stairs to the upstairs led directly into the kitchen – the one room most likely in any home to have a fire. That may have been legal when the building was built 40 years ago, but it is contrary to more up to date fire safety standards, as a fire in such a home’s kitchen can, and in this case did, trap people upstairs.

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