Cops pull victims from burning home

Fire caused by kerosene lamps after utilities shut off
October 9, 2008 3:01:18 PM PDT
Two police officers are being hailed as heros after they pulled two victims from a burning home in Middletown, although it appears the two people will not survive. Police tell Eyewitness News that officers Fred Slanovec and Alberto Lopez were patrolling Washington Street when they saw dark smoke coming from 20 Spring Street, as well as an open fire in the driveway. A man, identified as George Pedro, was in the driveway calling for help. The officers say he was extremely distraught and had severe burns to both of his hands, and his flesh was melted away.

He reportedly told the officers that his parents were still inside and he could not get to them.

The officers ran to the porch, where they spotted a woman lying on the floor inside. They ran in, through the smoke and flames, and were able to pull Maria Pedro from the home. She reportedly was severely burned throughout her body.

Police say Slanovec and Lopez observed another subject walking around inside through the smoke and tried to reach him, but were unable to rescue the man because of the thick smoke.

Police say they yelled to the man to come towards the doorway, and Lopez stuck a broom stick into the home in an effort to locate him. He reportedly felt something, at which time he lunged into the room and grabbed the man.

That victim was identified as Jose Pedro, who also had severe burns throughout his body, according to police. His clothing was burned off and his skin was blistering.

All three victims were pulled to safety, where they were secured and eventually treated by the fire department and mobile life. Unfortunately, authorities say it is unlikely Jose and Maria will survive. Two dogs were also rescued from the home.

Police say George Pedro told them the fire started started as a result of a kerosene heater that exploded while they were filling with fuel. All three were reportedly engulfed in flames, and George attempted to put out his parents with a garden hose.

George Pedro told officers that their utilities had been shut off and they were using the lantern for light and heat. He said the power was turned off recently for non-payment, so they then went and bought the camping lanterns. It appears the Coleman liquid gas they purchased was not for use in lanterns.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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