Firefighters discovered a woman stabbed to death when they rushed to extinguish a blaze early Tuesday at an apartment in Daytona Beach, while her three young children were taken in critical condition to a hospital where the youngest, an infant, died.
Authorities have not released the baby's cause of death or the type of injuries and current conditions of the two surviving kids, ages 4 and 5.
"This is a horrific incident two days out from a holiday that centers around family," Daytona Beach police Chief Jakari Young told reporters at the scene.
The mother's name has not been released and police were investigating the fire as a homicide, Young said. Authorities have not named a suspect. The fire began around midnight Tuesday at the Countryside Apartments, Young said, and the infant was found in a crib near the mother.
WKMG in Orlando reported that state investigators believe a fire was intentionally set at the apartment.
Officials also said a police officer was treated for smoke inhalation.
"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."
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