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Three Children Die in Trailer Fire in San Bernardino County

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Three San Bernardino County children died in a trailer fire that apparently was caused by an untended kerosene lamp, authorities said Sunday.

The fire erupted in the trailer shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday in the rural community of Muscoy, killing an 11-year-old girl and two boys, 8 and 10, San Bernardino fire officials said. The children’s parents escaped the blaze unharmed.

The 9-foot-by-42-foot trailer was engulfed in flames when firefighters from nearby San Bernardino arrived just after 10 p.m. They had to cut chains from a gate to reach the 1950s trailer, which was parked in a large lot behind a house, said John B. Roberts, division chief of the San Bernardino County Fire Department. The fire was controlled in a few minutes, he said.

Damage estimate for the trailer was put at about $15,000. The large lot includes a small two-story house, stables and at least two other trailers. On Sunday morning, chickens and ducks scurried about, but the few people standing in the yard did not want to talk about the fire.

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Muscoy is an unincorporated area that borders the city of San Bernardino. The area includes many large lots of half an acre to an acre dotted with houses, trailers and mobile homes.

Fire officials said they had no information on how long the family had lived there. Authorities would not release the family’s name until a positive identification had been made on the badly burned bodies.

Roberts said the fire apparently started in the rear portion of the trailer, closest to where the children slept.

“The mother was attempting to get the kids out of the trailer,” he said. “She told them to come with her. She thought they were behind her, but for whatever reason they didn’t follow her out.”

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Roberts said the trailer was virtually consumed, but a Sheriff’s Department dog trained to sniff out flammable liquids was able to detect the lantern that apparently sparked the blaze.

“These old vintage trailers used a lot of wood paneling, and they burn like a tinderbox,” Roberts said.


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