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updated: 12/23/2012 7:28 AM

Chicago fire started by hot plate kills 2 children

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Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Authorities say a fire started by a hot plate being used for heat killed two young children at a home on Chicago's South Side.

The Chicago Tribune reported the children had been left home alone.

A 2-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy sleeping in a back bedroom were killed. Two other children were rescued by an aunt who ran to the Englewood home when she saw the fire.

Fire officials say a hot plate sparked the blaze, which tore through the basement and first-floor of the brick and stone two-flat before dawn Saturday.

Firefighters had to cut through bars on basement windows to get inside.

The surviving children were taken into protective custody.

Police say the children's mother and aunt were being questioned.

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