Mexican Day Care Fire Victims Taken to Calif.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Two 3-year-old children who were among dozens injured in a fatal day care fire in northern Mexico were being treated Saturday at a regional pediatric burn center in Sacramento.

One of the young patients, a girl, had burns over 80 percent of her body and was expected to require months of care at Shriners Hospitals for Children Northern California. A hospital spokeswoman said she was in critical condition.

Burn Center

Dr. Tina Palmieri, assistant chief of burns for the hospital, said the survivability rate in such cases is about 50 percent.

"It's going to be challenging," she said. "A lot of it is how deep the burn is and where it's located and how bad is the smoke inhalation."

The hospital said a second child from the day care, a boy, arrived late Saturday night. No other information about his condition was immediately available.

Dozens of people were injured in Friday's devastating fire in Hermosillo, capital city of the northwestern Mexico state of Sonora. About 142 children, ranging in age from six months to 5 years, and six staffers were in the day care when the blaze erupted at an adjoining tire and car warehouse.

Hospitalized Victims

Four adults and 33 children remained hospitalized Saturday night.

The girl was flown by a Mexican military transport from Hermosillo to Sacramento. One parent accompanied the girl but declined to comment to reporters through a hospital spokeswoman.

A relative who arrived at the Sacramento hospital said it was the girl's father who traveled with her.

"They called me from Mexico," said Felix Barreras, 42, who lives in the eastern San Francisco Bay area city of Fairfield. "I see the news yesterday, but I never imagined it would be my family."

Barreras said the girl's mother is his niece and had been working at the day care when the fire broke out. She was taken to a hospital in Ciudad Obregon, also in the state of Sonora.

"She went through the flames to pick out her daughter. She got burned on the face, the head. She swallowed a lot of smoke," he said.

Barreras arrived in the hospital's waiting room with his wife and three children but said he had yet to speak with the burn victim's father.

Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, the consul general for Mexico based in Sacramento, said more victims of the fire may be headed to the Sacramento hospital for treatment.

Shriners spokeswoman Catherine Curran said Dr. Palmieri had been speaking by telephone with health officials in Mexico to help assess the victims' injuries and determine courses of treatment. They also were trying to determine if any others should be sent to the U.S., although the doctor said it can be risky to transport patients with severe burns long distances.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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