Fire Kills Woman in Barred Home

Times Staff Writer

An elderly San Fernando Valley woman died Saturday night when the steel bars she had installed on her windows and doors trapped her inside her burning house.

Melba Nadine Moore, 67, became the fourth Los Angeles resident this month to die inside a burning building equipped with security bars. Officials blamed a smoldering cigarette for starting the fire.

The fire occurred in the 7900 block of Wisner Avenue in Sepulveda. When firefighters pried off the back door of the house, they found the woman's body pressed against the barred door. A key to the door lay nearby, fire officials said.

The victim's windows were equipped with quick-release latches that allow occupants to escape in case of fire, but the woman apparently did not try to escape through a window.

On June 6, three South-Central Los Angeles youngsters died in their grandparents' 113th Street home as neighbors unsuccessfully struggled to pry the metal bars off windows that trapped them in a fire-filled bedroom. A similar tragedy was averted early Saturday morning when Dedan Gills rescued seven children from a burning East 111th Street house. Gills used his hands and a two-by-four to bend the security bars and pull the seven youngsters to safety.

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