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Grandmother Dies in Fire After Helping Family Flee

January 10, 1988

A 77-year-old women died in a fire that engulfed her East San Diego home Saturday morning, but she was able to help her son, his wife and her three grandchildren escape, fire officials said.

The body of Guadalupe Sosa, was found near a window in one of her grandchildren's rooms by firefighters after the blaze in the 4300 block of Landis Street was brought under control at 2:30 a.m., San Diego Fire spokeswoman Ida Cheney said.

After the fire broke out around 2 a.m., Sosa apparently awoke to a smoke alarm in her room in the back of the house and hurried to waken her family before being overcome by smoke and fumes, Deputy Coroner George Dickason said.

According to the Metro Arson Strike Team, a smoldering cigarette ignited a couch.

The victim's son, Jose Gonzalez, 59, told investigators he and his family had gone to bed about 9 p.m. Friday night. At 2 a.m. he was awakened by screams and noticed the house was filled with smoke.

Several neighbors in the area heard Sosa scream, "Get the children out!" They were able to help the three children, two boys, 8 and 5, and a girl, 4, and their father escape the burning structure without injury.

Gonzalez was later examined by paramedics at the scene but refused treatment, Cheney said.

The children's mother was not identified.

Cheney said 25 firefighters fought the fire, bringing it under control in 20 minutes.

Damage was estimated at $75,000 to the structure and $25,000 to the contents. Gonzalez and his family were relocated Saturday morning by the American Red Cross.

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