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Texas House Fire Kills 3, Injures 1

December 25, 2002

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Two brothers, ages 8 and 13, and a 12-year-old neighbor died in a house fire early Tuesday.

The boys’ father suffered smoke inhalation while trying to rescue them and was hospitalized in critical condition. The man’s 9-year-old son escaped unharmed, authorities said.

The boys who died _ identified as Cole Lagrone, his older brother Frank and John Overbee _ had been upstairs in the house when the fire erupted. Paul Lagrone, 41, and his surviving son had been downstairs.

The fire, which gutted the limestone and wood home and caused part of the roof to collapse, broke out about 4 a.m. and was put out 20 minutes after firefighters arrived.

Paul Lagrone had climbed a ladder outside the house and severely cut his arm while breaking a second-story window, Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Baum said.

``I woke up about a quarter to four and heard a man screaming,″ next-door neighbor Cindy Isaacson said. ``I couldn’t quite tell what was going on. I heard (Lagrone) calling his boys’ names. He was just frantic. ... He wouldn’t give up _ very heroic.″

Fire officials said the blaze was caused by an electrical malfunction.

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