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Smoke, Fire in Home Kill Toll Junior High Teacher

January 15, 1987

A Glendale teacher died of smoke inhalation and burns after a fire broke out in his home last week, said a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner's office. Police have ruled the death an accident.

Phillip A. Shrader, 43, was found dead in the bathroom of his two-story home on Vista Superba Drive last Thursday night, Glendale police said. Investigators said the fire, which started about 11:18 p.m., apparently was caused by Shrader's smoking in bed.

The fire was reported by Shrader's roommate, who awoke to the sound of Shrader's pounding against his bedroom walls in an attempt to summon help, Police Sgt. Steve Campbell said.

The roommate called the Glendale Fire Department, then got out of the house, Campbell said. Firefighters said Shrader was overcome by smoke in his bathroom, where he had apparently carried smoldering pillows to extinguish them.

Police said locked security bars on Shrader's bedroom windows may have prevented his escape. In addition, a smoke-alarm system on the second floor was not working, police said.

Shrader, who taught at Toll Junior High School in Glendale, had been on disability leave for a year, Campbell said. He began teaching at Toll in 1968 and was made chairman of the Spanish department in 1974.

The fire caused about $50,000 in property damage.

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