Atlanta (CNN)-Investigators in Georgia were looking Friday for a man who left the scene of a suburban Atlanta house fire that killed three children, authorities said.
They said that the fire was caused by a suspected methamphetamine lab in the Liburn, Georgia, home.
Gwinnett county police Capt. Jake Smith said that Ivan Gonzales had been charged with two counts of murder Friday, a day after firefighters found him attempting to extinguish the blaze with a garden hose.
Gonzales, who Smith said received burns in the fire, told authorities that he was a family member and was headed to the hospital to be near the children injured in the fire.
Gonzales, who is not related to the children, never reached the hospital, authorities said. Authorities checked other area hospitals and did not find Gonzales.
Gonzales is described as being 5 feet, 7 inches tall and 190 pounds, with a tattoo of the Virgin Mary on his leg.
The victims, whose names were not released, are an18 month old girl and two boys, age 3 and 4. Passersby pulled the children from the burning building. The children were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. one died Thursday and the other two died Friday morning.
"The children had significant burn injuries and significant smoke inhalation injuries," said Gwinnett County Fire Department Capt. Tommy Rutledge.
Rutledge said the fire started in a hallway between the kitchen and a stairwell in the center of the house.
Smith said a third murder count is pending against Gonzales. Neibi Brito, the victims' mother, is charged with drug trafficking.
"The lack of responsibility, of course, is disturbing." Smith said.
"We have a tragic case involving three young children, but we are going to treat it professionally and not let the emotions of it get in the way of the investigation in any way."
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