As firefighters raced to extinguish a blaze at a Florida apartment early Tuesday, they discovered a woman stabbed to death inside and her three young children in critical condition, one of whom was an infant who later died at a hospital, authorities said.
The fire erupted around midnight at the Countryside Apartments on Beville Road in Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young told reporters at the scene.
“This is a horrific incident two days out from a holiday that centers around family,” Young said.
The infant was found in a crib suffering cardiac arrest near the mother. The baby’s cause of death and the conditions of the two surviving children, ages 4 and 5, were not immediately provided.
The mother’s name has yet to be released as authorities work to notify her next of kin.
Authorities are ruling the incident as a homicide because the fire had two points of origin inside the apartment, which is not normal, Daytona Beach Fire Department Lt. Antwan Lewis told reporters.
Police have yet to name a suspect in connection with the stabbing or fire.
Officials said a police officer was treated for smoke inhalation. It was unclear whether other apartment units were affected.
“I’m very proud of all the officers that initially responded, as well as fire and medical personnel,” Young said. “If it wasn’t for their actions, there probably would have been more lives lost.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.