As the death toll rose to 40 Sunday in a tragic fire at a Mexican day-care center, a 3-year-old boy who was badly burned got ready to undergo several hours of surgery at a Sacramento pediatric hospital.
Dr. David Greenhalgh says doctors hope to treat 35 to 40 percent of the boy's body during the operation. He was burned over about half his body.
The boy and a 3-year-old girl who was burned over 80 percent of her body were flown to Shriners Hospitals for Children Northern California by Mexican authorities on Saturday. Both are listed in critical condition. Doctors say the girl’s injuries could take months of treatment.
“It is horrible but these children can survive and not only survive they can survive and be functional. That is my job to help them survive and become adults and functioning people,” Shriners Children's Hospital spokesperson Tina Palmieri said.
The Consul General for Mexico based in Sacramento says the girl’s hospital bill will be taken care of and her parent will stay nearby.
Thirty-three others remain hospitalized, including 13 who are in critical condition. One of them is brain dead.
The hospital is waiting to hear whether Mexican officials plan to send any more victims of Friday's fire to the hospital. Greenhalgh says Shriners could probably take two to four more children.
It was a day of "profound sadness" in Mexico as funeral processions filled the streets of Hermosillo Sunday and grieving parents buried their children.
The family of 2-year-old Maria Magdalena Millan dropped white roses on her casket and attached a Dora the Explorer balloon to the cross marking her grave.
"I love you and I don't want to leave you here!" her mother screamed.
The fire initially spread from an adjoining tire and car warehouse to the roof of the ABC day care and sent flames raining down. Fire officials still don't know how it started.
President Felipe Calderon promised families full government support and a thorough investigation into the fire's cause.