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Thirteen Die In Weekend Blazes

February 17, 1986

Undated (AP) _ Three young children died Sunday when fire engulfed their Indianapolis apartment after one of the youngsters apparently began playing with matches, as weekend fires in three states killed 11 children and two adults, authorities said.

A woman and her three grandchildren died in a blaze in Oregon and a 9-year- old girl in Florida died when she ran upstairs in a burning house, apparently to rescue a stuffed animal. Two blazes in Indiana killed five children and one adult and a fire in Virginia left two young boys dead.

In Indianapolis, Damone Adair, 17, told authorities he was baby-sitting the children when the fire began, but was unable to rescue them in the smoke- filled second-floor apartment.

Killed were 2-year-old Gione Johnson, her 4-year-old sister, Monique Hudson, 4, and their 4-year-old uncle, Marcus Adair.

In DeGonia Springs, Ind., a wood-burning stove may have caused a fire Sunday that killed a mother and her two children, officials said.

The victims were identified as Anna Duncan, 24, and her children, Jeremy, 5, and Jessica, 3.

In Portland, Ore., Rosanne E. Sponsler, 43, died when fire raced through her family’s home Saturday night. Her grandchildren, Blair A. Stamm Jr., 6, Laticia Stamm, 4, and Joshua Stamm, 3, who were sleeping in the basement, died of apparent smoke inhalation shortly after arriving at hospital emergency rooms.

″It was like an inferno. It just exploded,″ said Jim Lewis, a neighbor.

The children’s mother and grandfather were out of the house and their father is stationed overseas with the military.

In Titusville, Fla., Stefani Lauderbaugh, 9, was staying with at the home of her friend, Kathy Thomson, when they smelled smoke and ran downstairs. As Kathy alerted the rest of her family, Stefani ran upstairs.

″I think she was looking for a stuffed animal,″ Kathy said.

Firefighters found Stefani’s body in a bathroom. She died of smoke inhalation, authorities said.

Kathy’s father, James Thomson, was burned on his hands, arms and face while searching for Stefani. He was hospitalized in stable condition.

In Gloucester, Va., Philiph Connon, 4, and his brother Stuart, 3, died fire swept through their home while they were taking naps, authorities said.

Their mother, Mary Connon, escaped the house through a bedroom window and unsuccessfully tried to re-enter the home and save the children.

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