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Five disabled residents die in fire at care home

One resident and two caregivers escape the Monterey County blaze.

November 07, 2011|By Anna Gorman and Alan Zarembo, Los Angeles Times

Five disabled residents of a care facility in the Monterey County city of Marina died in a fire late Saturday night, authorities said Sunday.

The two caregivers escaped from the single-story house, said Lt. Rick Janicki of the Marina Police Department.

They were treated for smoke inhalation, as were three police officers and a firefighter.

A sixth disabled resident also got out, but remained hospitalized late Sunday afternoon, Janicki said.

It does not appear that anybody else lived there, he said. The Mt. Carmel Adult Residential Facility was licensed by the state to care for six adults.

The names, ages and genders of the victims will be released Monday, after relatives had been contacted, he said.

The cause was still being investigated, with assistance from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Fire and Explosives, Janicki said.

John DiCarlo, a retired sheriff's deputy who lives down the street, said he heard the sirens just before midnight Saturday and went out to see what was going on.

"When I got there, the house was totally engulfed in flames," DiCarlo said.

Firefighters were already on the scene. DiCarlo took a short video, but the "fire was so intense you couldn't get that close," he said.

It took at least 45 minutes to bring the fire under control.

"The next thing you know, they are bringing out some bodies," DiCarlo said. "It is pretty tragic because we knew they were disabled people in there."

Four of the deceased were found that night, and a fifth body was discovered in the debris Sunday morning, Janicki said.

The four-bedroom house is on a cul-de-sac across the street from a Motel 6 in Marina, a coastal town of nearly 20,000. California Highway 1 and the beach are behind it.

The house was built in 1974 and last sold in 2004 for $1,040,000, according to property records, which list the owners as William and Julieta Duerr. They could not be reached for comment.

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