2010-06-03 / Local & State

3 Children Killed In Fast-Moving Central Pennsylvania Fire

READING, Pa. (AP) – A fast-moving fire sparked by a home's unattended stove killed three children, whose mother was rescued from the roof, officials and neighbors said Thursday.

The girls, ages 7, 11 and 12, were trapped on the third floor of a two-unit home when the fire started shortly before 1 a.m., fire department Chief William Rehr III said.

The girls' mother and a man were being treated at a hospital burn center, Rehr said. Investigators identified them as Brenda Angel, 39, and Lucien White, 27.

Angel was reported in critical but stable condition. White, who told paramedics he was cooking chicken on the stove before the fire broke out, is expected to be released Saturday, Rehr said.

“Apparently, he had been cooking earlier and went to bed,” Rehr said. “We believe that he didn't turn off one of the burners properly.”

Neighbors said Angel had to be rescued from the roof and White had to be restrained from running back into the burning building.

The girls' names weren't being released until dental records confirm their identities. Autopsies showed they died of smoke inhalation and burns, Rehr said.

Five people in a downstairs apartment were uninjured.

The Reading fire marshal said the house had smoke detectors but no evidence had been found that they were operational.

Reading fire and police, state police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are conducting a joint investigation.

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