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Fatal fire-Carson, CA

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  • Fatal fire-Carson, CA

    CARSON, Calif. (AP) - Four people, including two quadriplegic
    veterans, died Thursday when fire trapped them in a home with
    missing smoke detectors and security bars that couldn't be released
    because of heavy furniture.
    The quadriplegics, identified by neighbors as veterans, were
    found in a bedroom in "hospital-type beds" with wheelchairs next
    to them, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Mark Savage said.
    The couple, believed to be their caretakers, could not escape
    because they were trapped by fire and blocked by the security bars,
    Savage said.
    The victims were identified by the county coroner's office as
    veterans Reginald Sneed, 57, and Rudolph Beribak, 81. The caretaker
    was identified as Maria Villanueva, 38, and the other victim was
    Alfred Bidaure, 39, who neighbors described as her fiance.
    The quadriplegics could not have escaped without help,
    firefighters said.
    The couple tried to get through a front window when fire blocked
    the bedroom door, Savage said, but a release latch for the security
    bars was hidden by a tall dresser with a television on it.
    The bodies of the man and woman were found in a bathroom
    attached to the bedroom.
    "I couldn't believe it. They've got to figure out a way to get
    out of the place in a fire. That place is like a fire trap. I
    thought they'd have one way of getting out easily," 53-year-old
    neighbor Ben Alarcon said.
    There was no documentation on file indicating the home was a
    boarding or care facility, he added.
    Savage said one bedroom of the three-bedroom home was unoccupied
    and that appeared to be where the fire started.
    Alarcon and other neighbors said until recently there had been a
    third handicapped man living at the home.
    Brackets were installed for smoke detectors in each room, but
    only the kitchen actually had a working detector in place,
    firefighters said.
    The 2:25 a.m. blaze was put out within 20 minutes.
    The cause of the fire was investigation.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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