Fire reported at home of Lexington couple accused of child abuse

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Firefighters responded Monday morning to a reported fire at the home of a Lexington couple who was arrested in October on multiple counts of child abuse.

Fire officials say the fire started at about 8:30 a.m. while the couple was in court.

Michael Patrick McKnight and Jamie Leigh Hiatt

Michael Patrick McKnight, 24, and Jamie Leigh Hiatt, 24, both of Lexington, were arrested after seven children were found in poor living conditions. They were charged with felony neglect-child abuse involving serious injury and six counts of misdemeanor child abuse.

Lexington police came to the home at 410 Irma Avenue in reference to a welfare check at 10:20 p.m. on Oct. 27.

Once at the home officers observed very filthy and unhealthy living conditions, a press release said.

The children ranged in age from 1 to 6.

Two 18-month-old twins and a 1-year-old were taken to Lexington Medical Center for treatment. The two twins and 1-year-old were later transported to Brenner Children's Hospital in Winston-Salem for treatment.

Staff at Lexington Medical Center found maggots in the diaper of one of the children.

Living conditions at the home ranged from human and animal feces and urine scattered around the home to a very dirty and unhealthy environment for any human life, the release said.

McKnight is the parent of three of the children and Hiatt is the parent of four of the children.