PATERSON, N.J. (AP) - City officials plan to review tapes of
calls reporting a house fire that killed three people Thursday to
determine if firetrucks were dispatched promptly.
Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres said that he, Fire Chief James
Pasquariello, and Police Chief Lawrence Spagnola would review the
911 and fire-dispatch tapes to establish a chronology.
"I'm hoping that we'll have a report within the next 48
hours," Torres told The Record of Bergen County.
The fire in the two-story, wood-frame house was reported at 5:44
a.m. and went to two alarms before firefighters got it under
control at 7:05 a.m., fire officials said.
But neighbors said they called 911 as early as 5:20 a.m. and
that two police cars arrived first. Pasquariello said the fire
department received a call from police at 5:44 a.m. and arrived on
scene at 5:47 a.m. to find the house engulfed in flames.
The flames made it impossible to search for people inside, fire
officials said.
Paul Chiaramonte, Passaic County's senior assistant prosecutor,
said the dead were a 77-year old woman, who owned the house; a
20-year-old woman and a 35-year old man, who was believed to be a
tenant.
An 11-year-old girl was listed in critical condition in the burn
unit of St. Barnabas Hospital, a spokeswoman said. The girl
suffered second-degree burns to her face and hands. A 29-year-old
woman also was hospitalized and treated for hysteria, Chiaramonte
said.
Chiaramonte said it is possible the fire was electrical in
origin, noting that a space heater was found, and a family member
told investigators that the residents were having problems with the
furnace.


(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)