151. Fire Kills Two Young Girls

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Two sisters, four and six years old, died a late-night fire that started because of an power strip. The girls were in an unattached that had been illegally converted into an apartment. new apartment did not conform to Los Angeles building codes. “Such illegal apartments are becoming an in LA,” said Mayor Gregory Peck. “They endanger only the renters, but also all their neighbors.”
apartment did not have a single window. There only one outlet; plugged into that outlet was cheap power strip. Plugged into the strip were TV, a small refrigerator, a portable heater, two , and a hair dryer. That was a recipe a fire, said one fireman.
The 14-year-old sister was in charge—their mom worked nights—was in the when the fire started. She had been using bathroom. The toilet in the apartment was not at the time. As she was returning to apartment, she heard crackling noises. Before she could the apartment door, flames shot out from the . The fire spread to the house before the department arrived. Firemen said that neither the apartment the house had smoke detectors.
Three days later, January 11, the city fire department announced that was giving away free smoke detectors to needy residents. Also, the city housing authority warned residents it was going to step up the search illegal conversions. “Property owners will be forced to down such structures immediately, at their own cost, pay a significant fine,” said a spokesman.