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Three Die in Conn. House Fire

March 12, 1998

STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Firefighters found the bodies of a mother and her two children in their burning home Wednesday, then discovered a disconnected smoke detector on a nightstand.

Police identified the victims as Diane Gaeth, 47, and her children, Nicholas Rehbock, 12, and Rebecca Rehbock, 9.

Smoke was pouring from the windows of the two-story house when firefighters arrived at about 7:25 a.m.

Fire officials said if the smoke detector had been connected, it probably would have saved their lives.

The smoke detector, with the battery sitting next to it, was found on the mother’s nightstand.

``I can only surmise that the battery had died and she took it down with the intention of replacing it,″ said Assistant Fire Chief Michael Hostetter.

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