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House Fire Claims Lives of Four

June 14, 2005|From Associated Press

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Fire broke out in a three-family home Monday, killing a mother and three children and critically injuring the father.

The blaze started shortly before dawn in the frame building on the city's west side, and the house was fully engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived, Assistant Fire Chief Fred Haschak said.

The flames took two hours to control and gutted the second and third floors, fire officials said. The cause was not immediately determined.

The woman and a 14-year-old boy were pronounced dead at the scene. An 11-year-old girl was pronounced dead at a hospital, and a 3-year-old girl died at another Bridgeport medical center, officials said.

The children's father was listed in critical condition.

Bruce Collins, the city's fire marshal, said the blaze appeared to be accidental. He said investigators found evidence that smoke detectors had been installed in apartments on the first and third floors, but officials did not find any in the second-floor apartment where the fire began.

The fire left nine people homeless, said Caryn S. Kaufman, a spokeswoman for Mayor John M. Fabrizi.

Jackie Gonzalez, who lived on the third floor of the house, said she woke up and saw smoke pouring into her window. She grabbed her two children and a niece and made her way through the smoke. "I couldn't see nothing. I threw myself to the stairs," she said.

Fire Chief Bruce Porzelt praised Gonzalez's swift action. "She saved lives."

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