Parents killed, son injured in Northern Calif. fire

by The Associated Press
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RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) – Two parents were killed and their son critically injured in a fire Friday morning at a garage that had been converted into living space in San Francisco Bay Area, fire officials said.

Firefighters were called to the home early Friday morning. They arrived to find the garage in the back of the residence fully engulfed in flames, according to Richmond Battalion Chief Manly Moulton.

The fire was put out in minutes, and the parents – identified as 56-year-old Mearn Lee Pom and 50-year-old Bounkeo Viengvilai – were found inside, fire officials said.

The couple’s 26-year-old son was on fire and was running through the yard, Deputy Fire Marshal Robin Poindexter said. He was taken to a hospital with critical burn injuries.

The cause of fire is not known, but investigators said cigarette butts, alcohol and fireworks were found outside.

The garage did not have smoke detectors.

Ulises Moreno, a neighbor, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he heard fireworks around 11 p.m. or midnight.

Jesus Ramos, another neighbor, said the parents were friendly and often invited him over for dinner.

He was asleep in his home across the street when the fire started, he told the Chronicle.

“I woke up and heard screaming,” Ramos said. “It was someone screaming `Help, help’ and I heard a big commotion. I came outside and saw flames above the house and I went back inside and called 911.”

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