SAN BERNARDINO — Two sleeping children, locked in a burning house by iron security bars, were killed Saturday morning when fire raced through their home, authorities said.
Their mother and another child escaped from the home in the 2500 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, San Bernardino firefighter Joseph Munoz said. There were no smoke detectors to warn the sleeping family, he said.
Three firefighters suffered steam burns or smoke inhalation while fighting the blaze, which began at 3:13 a.m. and spread rapidly through the single-family home, Munoz said.
Started in Den
"The fire originated in the den area, spread to the kitchen, back bedroom, hallway and front room, and also spread to the attic," he said.
A 10-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl, whose names were withheld until relatives could be notified, were overcome by smoke as they slept in a back bedroom, he said. Firefighters carried them out of the home but could not revive them.
"That house had iron security bars on the windows and doors, none of which had quick safety release mechanisms," Munoz said. "And there were no smoke alarms to warn anyone of fire."
Munoz said 15 firefighters from three engine companies extinguished the blaze in 30 minutes. The fire caused $35,000 damage to the building and $19,000 damage to contents.
"The house is still standing, but the inside was gutted," he said.
The three injured firefighters were treated at a hospital and released, Munoz said.
Cause of the fire was under investigation.
Munoz said the children's deaths were a reminder of the usefulness of smoke detectors and the danger resulting from the family's quest for security.
"I would strongly suggest for the sake of saving lives to have the quick safety releases inside (the iron security bars) and to also have smoke detectors to be placed in the home. It's a small price to pay for a life," Munoz said.