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Fires Kill 13 People in Three States

January 7, 1986

Undated (AP) _ Fires killed 13 people in three states, including a man and four children who died early today in a house fire in Sumter, S.C.

The Sumter fire, blamed on a faulty fireplace, killed a 46-year-old man and children ranging in age from 7 to 16. The children’s mother and two other children escaped.

Assistant fire chief Charles Holland identified the victims as Albert Montgomery Jr., 46; Jerold Prince, 7; Toby Prince, 10; Myres Prince, 15; and Joe Lewis Prince, 16.

The fire started around the chimney, Holland said, and ″a $14 or $15 smoke detector would have saved their lives.″

In Blairstown, N.J., investigators were searching for the cause of a fire that raced through a two-story home Monday morning and killed four children.

Patricia Tutty, 22, indentified the dead as her 15-year-old brother, Richard, and her three children: Patricia, 2, Christine 3, and William, 5.

Ms. Tutty and her boyfriend, Fred Kopi, 22, were listed in fair condition today in Newton Memorial Hospital, where they were being treated for smoke inhalation, said a hospital spokeswoman.

Lt. David Heater, an investigation with the Warren County prosecutor’s office, said arson was not being considered as a cause.

In Nipomo, Calif., a woman and three children - a boy and two girls age about 2, 3 and 4 - died when fire destroyed their wood-frame, single-story house Monday, authorities said.

Identities of the victims were being witheld pending notification of relatives and further investigation.

A neighbor saw the flames and called firefighters while her husband tried unsuccessfully to enter the house, authorities said.

In Los Angeles, panicked residents ran through flames as firefighters tried to extinguish an arson fire in their apartment building Monday, fire officials said. Seven people, including four members of one family and two children, were injured.

Five workers were treated for smoke inhalation and released after a fire broke out in a guest room at Marriott’s Pavilion Hotel in St. Louis on Monday, authorities said. Acting Fire Chief Neil Svetanics said the fire broke out when a workman was cleaning drapery, and an electric space heater ignited the cleaning fluid.