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Two-alarm Pittsburg house fire kills three women

Our thoughts are with the three women who perished in a house fire on Sunday morning.

Three women were killed in a Pittsburg house fire as they tried to escape. The unidentified women are believed to be the three sisters who rented the home at 283 DiMaggio Avenue. The women were in their 60s or 70s. The women resided in the 880-square-foot-home for at least a year. Three other people who lived in a rear unit on the property escaped without injury.

Neighbors and passers-by reported the house fire around 12:30 a.m., and some went so far as to bang on the doors of nearby houses to alert them of the danger. When firefighters arrived, flames were shooting out from the front windows. The firefighters were able to find the three women and carry them to safety, but they could not be revived.

Contra Costa County Fire Marshal Lewis Broschard stated that the home had smoke alarms, but the batteries were removed. He added, “Had the smoke alarms had batteries, the women would have had some warning. But unfortunately, by the time they knew there was a fire, it was too late. The fire had a head start.”

The house fire was contained within half an hour of its reporting, but was strong enough to scorch walls, shatter windows and melt the utility meter of the neighboring home.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there are more than 300,000 residential fires a year, resulting in 3,000 unnecessary deaths. Most of these deaths are from smoke and deadly gases, not from burns. A majority of fatalities occur when families are asleep because the occupants are unaware of the fire until there is no time to escape. Smoke alarms are crucial for early fire detection and can mean the difference between life and death. Free publications on smoke alarms and fire safety can be found on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.

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