updated 12/17/2008 3:53:31 PM ET 2008-12-17T20:53:31

A fire on Wednesday injured three children and two adults at a day care center that had been shut down by Tennessee regulators, authorities said.

Among those hurt was an off-duty police officer who spotted the fire at Heavenly Angels day care, called for assistance and helped rescue children from the building, Alamo Police Chief Gary Skipper said.

Two of the children and both adults were in good condition and the other child was in fair condition at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, spokeswoman Kay Cranford said. She cited privacy laws in declining to release the names of the injured.

It wasn't immediately clear how many children were at the center outside Alamo, about 70 miles northeast of Memphis, when the fire broke out.

The day care had been shut down by the state after a 10-month-old child died there Oct. 1, Tennessee Department of Human Services spokeswoman Michelle Mowery Johnson said.

The state medical examiner's office ruled the baby died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Dr. Tony Emison said. No charges have been filed.

The center operators voluntarily suspended their license immediately after the death but "we learned they may be operating again," Johnson said.

State inspectors said they found five children at the center during surprise visits on Nov. 14 and Dec. 5.

Last Friday a court issued a restraining order prohibiting the operators — Donna Cathey, Kathy Humphrey and Torri Blakemore — from operating a day care without a state license.

State law doesn't require a license to care for four or fewer children who aren't related.

Blakemore, who inspectors said was at the day care on Dec. 5, told The Associated Press that she isn't involved with Heavenly Angels and didn't know anything about Wednesday's fire.

She said she hasn't been to the building since Thursday but has applied for a state license to run a day care in that location.

Cathey and Humphrey didn't immediately return messages seeking comment, and there was no answer at the day care center. Humphrey's lawyer couldn't be reached for comment.

Skipper said the injured officer, Kevin Sugg, suffered smoke inhalation but wasn't seriously hurt.

Edolia Spinner has been Sugg's neighbor for 11 years.

"He's just that type of person," Spinner said. "He is a person who will help you."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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