Date: 10/22/2008 1:43 PM

By JEFF KAROUB
Associated Press Writer

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (AP) _ Fire killed a woman and three children in one home early Wednesday and spread to four other houses, three of them vacant, fire and city officials said.

Space heaters used to warm the victims’ home may have caused the blaze, fire department and city officials said. The temperature at the time in nearby Detroit was 37 degrees.

The officials confirmed the deaths, but would not identify the victims. Family members said they were a 51-year-old woman and three children — two boys, 10 and 5, and a girl, 8. They were among eight people living in the house.

Willie Dale, who said he was the adult victim’s son, said he escaped from the house with his girlfriend, their 10-month-old daughter and the mother of the three children who died.

“I woke up to my Mom saying ‘It’s a fire. Get out,'” said Dale, 29. “All the smoke came in, and I tumbled down the stairs.”

Those who escaped with Dale were taken to a hospital but details on their conditions were not immediately made available.

“It’s very, very sad,” said Highland Park’s emergency financial manager Arthur Blackwell. The cash-strapped 2.9-square-mile city just outside Detroit has been run by a state-appointed emergency financial manager for years.

The fire spread along the neighborhood, burning three homes to the ground — including the one occupied by the victims — and gutting two others. The neighborhood, one block from a busy urban freeway, consists of older, two-story homes, many of them vacant, including three of those struck by Wednesday’s fire.

Highland Park once held Chrysler headquarters and was the site of a Ford Motor Co. Model T factory that employed 100,000 workers.

However, those auto industry facilities are long gone along with the tax revenue they provided.

“It’s one of the poorest communities in the state,” Blackwell said. “They’re suffering here, disproportionately more.”

Elsewhere, an early morning blaze killed four people in a mobile home at Nacogdoches, Texas.

Nacogdoches Fire Chief Keith Kiplinger said the bodies of two women and two children, ages 3 and 4, were found in a back bedroom.

Firefighters said flames were “high in the trees” over the house when they arrived.

Nacogdoches is about 150 miles southeast of Dallas.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

Editor’s Comment: Something that surprised us when we first started focusing on carbon monoxide poisoning is that the largest number of CO poisoned people in the U.S. are victims of fire.
We have been working on fire related injuries for many years, going back to our advocacy on:
www.burn-help.com

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