Fire that killed mother, baby intentionally set

May 12, 2010 4:19:49 PM PDT
Fremont police say a fire that killed a mother and baby girl was set on purpose and may have been a murder-suicide.

The fire was reported around 6:15 Tuesday night by the mother's other young daughter, who ran to get help. The 8-year-old girl ran desperate for help. She knocked on at least two neighbors' doors before she found someone home.

There was only a small fire inside one bedroom and it left hardly any visible damage other than a broken window. Nonetheless, efforts to save the little girl's mother and baby sister didn't succeed.

The home is located on Leonato Way near Highway 880 and Paseo Padre Parkway.

"It's so sad to see what happened here," neighbor Fayyaz Kahen told ABC7.

Residents in Fremont's Ardenwood neighborhood are still in shock to learn of a family split apart by death. A husband, wife and their two young daughters once lived inside the suburban home but now, the 33-year-old mother and 4-month-old baby girl are dead.

"The daughter was playing inside the house. She came running outside and told the neighbor that the house is on fire," Kahen said.

Kahen lives right across the street. He told ABC7 it was his next-door neighbor who ran with the 8-year-old girl back into the home to help.

"She saw the smoke and she said she tried to open the door, the upstairs door, and the door was locked," Fayyaz recalled.

The neighbor then ran outside and called 9-1-1. Firefighters forced their way into the burning master bedroom and that is where they found the mother and child dead on the floor.

"This was by no means a fire that just occurred by electrical short or something like that," said detective Bill Veteran. "This was a fire that was intentionally set."

Police waited for a search warrant before going inside to investigate further. Detectives also spoke at length with the father who was not home at the time. Enough circumstances indicate their deaths were not accidental.

"The fact that the door was locked from the inside, some of the circumstances that occurred, some things that were said by the wife-mother to her husband," detective Veteran listed. "The circumstances of the fire itself were all suspicious and at this point, it looks like it's probably going to be a murder-suicide."

The tragedy has galvanized the neighborhood. Many residents said the family was a nice, quiet one who kept to themselves.

The Alameda County coroner will conduct autopsies to confirm the causes of death.


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