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Coroner: 3 siblings in Azusa house fire shot themselves in head

Approximate location of house fire shown in black.

Three siblings whose bodies were found in the aftermath of an Azusa house fire died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds to their heads in a possible suicide pact, the Los Angeles County coroner's office said Friday.

The deaths of George Alva, 53, Barbara Alva, 49, and Christine Alva, 47, were ruled suicides, said Watch Commander Larry Dietz of the coroner's office.

The siblings were on the verge of losing the now-charred home in the 500 block of North Dalton Avenue, and their father had recently died, according to court records and neighbors. Neighbors called 911 after seeing smoke coming from the house.

After the Dec. 6 fire was extinguished, authorities said, police discovered 12 rifles, 10 handguns, several incendiary devices and thousands of rounds of ammunition, which police heard exploding when they arrived. Two dogs and two cats were also found dead.

Family friend Nola Dewester, 69, said the dead siblings spent the last few years caring for their ailing parents. Their mother died about two years ago, she said. They had two other siblings; one sister lived nearby.

Dewester said that as far as she knew, none of the siblings was working full-time and all three shared one car. The siblings also had frequent run-ins with their neighbors, she said.


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Image: A map shows in black the approximate location of an Azusa house fire in which the bodies of three siblings were discovered. Credit: Los Angeles Times Mapping L.A.

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