Mother loses children to Social Services after fire killed toddl - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Mother loses children to Social Services after fire killed toddler

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ALBANY, N.Y. - The Department of Social Services filed an emergency request in the form of a neglect petition Tuesday afternoon with Albany Family Court to remove four children from Marasia Vanness' care. 

After suffering through the death of her 3-year-old daughter Amari last week because of the fire that broke out at their 20 Benson Street home, Vanness suffered another loss in court Tuesday, agreeing to hand over her four children, ages 1, 2, 4, and 7, to the Department of Social Services' foster care.

Last week, Vanness admitted to the Times Union of falling asleep after turning on stove burners to help heat the home. Fire investigators later ruled the house fire as accidental, after discovering Vanness' 3-year-old was playing with a burning incense which sparked the fire near a couch.

This week the Department of Social Services presented a letter from an apartment manager stating Vanness had left the stove on and unattended yet again.

According to DSS, the manager saw the stove unattended during a scheduled inspection.

Vanness had no comment for NEWS10 as she left Albany Family Court Tuesday.

Jack Daigneault, a fire fighter with the Cohoes Fire Department said, "Not only is it a fire hazard, you have monoxide problems too."

Daigneault educates families on fire prevention. "The [fires] we hate to see are the preventable ones," he said.

Since it only takes seconds for fire to spread, he says parents need to keep a closer eye on children in the kitchen. "It's very frustrating, we can teach and teach and teach, but they need to practice common sense," he said.

The attorneys with the Department of General Services say because a concern still existed with Vanness as the care taker of her children, they needed to be removed from the household immediately.

DSS will attempt to find other family members who can take care of the children, if not they will be placed in foster care.

DSS and Vanness are expected to be back in court later this week.

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