Two children critically injured last week in a house fire that killed their mother and two brothers have died from smoke inhalation suffered during the blaze. Damel Sapp, 9, a second-grade student at Montvue Elementary School, died April 30 at Pomona Valley Community Hospital and his brother, 14-year-old David Taplett, a student at Emerson Junior High School, died May 1 at Doctors Hospital in Montclair. The eldest brother and the only survivor of the fire, 17-year-old Eric Hinton, was released Saturday from the Pomona hospital after being treated for smoke inhalation.
Killed April 28, after smoke had filled their one-story house on Fellows Place in Pomona, were the mother, Cheryl Williams, 33, and her sons Jeffrey Miller, 3, and Charles Williams, 17. The cause of the fire has not been determined.
The slow-burning fire probably started about midnight, taking all night to fill the house with smoke, said Battalion Chief John Hawthorne of the Pomona Fire Department, who was called to the scene shortly before 5:30 a.m. He speculated that a $6 smoke detector would have alerted the family to the blaze 4 to 5 hours before firefighters arrived.