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Former Portsmouth daycare operator indicted on 19 charges after children injured in fire

Virginian-Pilot
Virginian-Pilot
 2022-08-12

A former home daycare operator has been indicted on multiple charges months after several children in her care were injured when a fire broke out at the Portsmouth townhouse where she ran her business.

A Portsmouth grand jury issued the indictments last week against Dewanna M. Seward. Eight of the 19 charges are for child abuse or neglect, another eight for child endangerment, and three for unlawful wounding, according to online court records.

The fire broke out on the afternoon of April 13 in the Charlestowne Condominiums complex on Greenwood Drive. According to a neighbor, Seward was outside and preparing to take the children home when she saw smoke coming from her townhouse.

The neighbor said he caught five children as they jumped out a second-story window in the back of the house. Firefighters arrived soon after and rescued two more, he said. Some of the children were hospitalized afterward, but it’s not clear how many.

The business — known as Indoor/Outdoor Reach LLC — was registered with the State Corporation Commission in August 2018, according to online records. It’s currently listed as inactive.

Jane Harper, jane.harper@pilotonline.com

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