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updated: 12/24/2012 7:46 AM

Chicago mom, aunt charged in deaths of kids in house fire

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Associated Press

Two women are facing charges in the deaths of two children who were home alone when a fire broke out.

Police say four children were in the apartment in Chicago's West Englewood neighborhood when the fire started early Saturday morning. Two-year-old Javaris Meakens and 3-year-old Jariyah Meakens died. Two boys, ages 7 and 4, were able to escape.

The children's mother, 23-year-old Tatiana Meakens, and their aunt, 22-year-old Britany Meakens, each are charged with two counts of felony child endangerment and two counts of endangering the life and health of a child. They're scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Police say a hot plate being used for heat in the first-floor apartment may have started the fire. Fire officials say they found no working smoke detectors in the building.

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