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Two Toddlers Killed in Fire; Mother Locked Herself Out

April 29, 1994

EAST BROOKFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ Two toddlers who had been playing with a cigarette lighter died in a fire after their mother ran into the hall to call the Fire Department and accidentally locked herself out of the apartment.

″The door slammed shut behind her,″ Fire Chief Bill Parsons said. ″It’s a shame. You would think her first instinct would be to grab the kids.″

The mother, Elizabeth Lazarick, had taken a portable phone into the hall to get a better connection, Parsons said.

Tracy Bessette, 3, and her sister, Heather, 4, died Wednesday, shortly after firefighters found them hiding under a bed in the second-story apartment. Holly McKay, their 18-month-old stepsister, was in serious condition Thursday.

Police Chief Eric Hunderup said Lazarick was on the front lawn screaming that the door was locked and her children were inside. Hunderup said he tried unsuccessfully to break down the door.

A firefighter dashed up the fire escape and, using his helmet as a club, smashed through the multiple layers of glass in the fire escape door.

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