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Playing With Fire Called Cause of Blazes That Killed 3 Children

November 29, 1986

Two residential blazes in which three children died early Thanksgiving morning were caused by children playing with fire, according to the San Diego Fire Department.

Willanette Anne Murray, 7, and her cousin, Leslie, 3, died when the home of Leslie's parents caught fire in the 2800 block of B Street in Golden Hill about 7 a.m. Thursday. James Murray was not at home and his wife, Martha, was presumed to be in another room when the fire started, Fire Department spokeswoman Ida Cheney said.

Robertta Kathleen Moffitt, 10, died when her two-story residence at the 3600 block of Poe Street in Loma Portal caught fire about 12:45 a.m. Her mother, Kathleen, was at work and had left Robertta and her brother, Alex, 11, at home alone. Alex was not hurt in the blaze.

"Children playing with fire has been determined as the cause of the B Street fire, though at this time it's unsure whether it was matches or candles or a lighter," Cheney said. "In the case of the Poe Street fire, we've determined it was children playing with matches."

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