Woman, child die after Fort Worth house fire

02/06/2014 9:24 PM

02/07/2014 5:10 PM

A woman and a 6-year-old boy who were pulled from a burning house in the Rosemont neighborhood Thursday night have died, officials said Friday.

The woman, identified as Karla Guajardo-Salazar, 27, died of smoke and carbon monoxide inhalation, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

The child has not been identified.

The fire broke out about 7 p.m. Thursday in a house in the 900 block of West Bolt Street. The neighborhood is on Fort Worth’s south side between La Gran Plaza shopping center and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The two died after being taken to Fort Worth hospitals, said Capt. Tom Crow, a Fire Department spokesman.

A man whose injuries were described as critical was taken by ambulance to the burn unit at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Crow said. The man had second- and third-degree burns, but no updates on his condition were available Friday, Crow said.

The man told investigators that he was awakened by his wife, who was screaming that the couch was on fire, Crow said. The man escaped through a small window near the back door, Crow said. Investigators found that the back door of the small wood-frame house was padlocked from the outside.

The man, realizing that his wife and child were still inside, tried to re-enter the house but could not because of the fire, Crow said.

Firefighters were met by flames and heavy smoke when they arrived, Crow said.

“As the crew of Engine 10 approached the residence, they were met by a male occupant who informed them that a woman and child were inside,” Crow said. “The crew immediately attempted to knock the fire down and enter the structure.”

The two were found and quickly removed, and the flames were “knocked down very quickly,” Crow said.

Investigators have reported that the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction near an outlet behind the couch in the living room, Crow said.

Investigators found no smoke detectors, said Tim Hardeman, a Fire Department spokesman.

“In order for [the woman and child] to get out of the house, they would have had to go through the front of the house where the fire started,” Hardeman said. “We don’t know why they remained in the bathroom where firefighters found them.”

These fire fatalities bring the city’s total to five this year and seven since November, Hardeman said. All five this year have been in residential fires, he said.

“We had only six all of last year,” Hardeman said. “And four of those were fires related to automobile accidents.”

As they have after the other fatal fires, firefighters will canvass the south-side neighborhood and offer to replace nonworking smoke detectors and outdated batteries, Hardeman said.

“We are re-evaluating the fire safety messages that we are putting out to our citizens,” he said. “We want to make sure that they know that they need to have more than one way out of the house, that they know to get out and stay out and have a place to meet and that they need working smoke detectors.

“We want everyone to have that information.”

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