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Boy's death in house fire near Compton investigated

October 7, 2011 |  6:50 am

House fire near Compton kills boy
Homicide investigators Friday were looking into a house fire that killed a 3-year-old boy in an unincorporated area near Compton.

Firefighters found the dead child in a bathroom after they responded to the fire at 835 E. Lennon St. about 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

The boy's 38-year-old mother tried but failed to rescue the boy and was despondent afterward, according to a homicide investigator. She suffered minor injuries.

The mother escaped from a second-floor balcony as flames tore through the home. She told investigators she was resting on the second floor with her son when she smelled smoke, said Lt. Mark Rossen of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

She said she tried to escape down the stairs, apparently by herself but was beaten back by choking smoke and forced to escape from the balcony.

It was unclear whether she jumped or was helped by neighbors, Rossen said.

She told firefighters her son was inside the home. He was found unconscious near a first-floor bathroom and pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, officials said.

The blaze appears to have started on the second floor, said Inspector Quvondo Johnson of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The mother was being questioned by Sheriff's Department arson and homicide investigators, but law enforcement officials stressed that such interviews are routine after fatal fires.

The mother was "very upset and despondent," Rossen said.


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-- Robert J. Lopez

Photo: Scene of Thursday's fire near Compton. Credit: KTLA-TV.