Early-morning Coatesville fire kills mother, son

Officials said multi-home blaze displaced more than 30 residents

Updated at 5 p.m. to add info about smoke detector give-away

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

The Red Cross was on the scene of a fatal fire in Coatesville early this morning in the 500 block of East Chestnut Street. Photo by Sara Smith

Coatesville firefighters responded this morning at 12:23 a.m. to a fire in the 500 block of East Chestnut Street  that killed a mother and child and displaced more than 30, officials said.

Coatesville police said Elizabeth Izquierdo, 44, and her 5-year-old son, Imanol, died in the fire, which spread from one dwelling to one on either side.

Coatesville Acting Fire Chief Jim Lentz said firefighters arrived within minutes and found 595 E. Chestnut St., a three-story, middle-of-the-row dwelling “well involved in fire on multiple floors.” He said eight people, including an infant, were successfully rescued from the roof.

Lentz said firefighters found the deceased woman and her child in a second-floor bedroom. He said an infant and an adult were transported to Brandywine Hospital for evaluation and released; no firefighters were injured, he said.

The victims were pronounced dead at the scene by Chester County First Deputy Coroner Susan Neubauer; autopsies are pending, a coroner’s news release said.

“Reports indicate that the dwelling did not have working smoke detectors in place,” said Lentz. “This more than likely played a key role in this tragedy.”

Hudson said the fire is under investigation with the state and county fire marshals. He said the dwellings were not owner-occupied.

“Based on our initial review, this was a tragic accident,”  said District Attorney Tom Hogan, adding that the investigation is continuing.  “Fire, EMS, and police personnel did an outstanding job responding and containing a situation that could have been even worse.”

Sara Smith, a Red Cross spokeswoman said a shelter has been set up at the Coatesville Recreation Center at Ninth Avenue and Chestnut Street. More than 30 people, including at least eight children, were displaced by the fire, she said.

Smith said most of the evacuees were at the scene until about 6:30 a.m. and did not get any sleep until then. She said the Red Cross will be working later today with bilingual counselors to assess individual cases and determine who needs a place to stay.

“It’s imperative that people check their smoke detectors,” Smith said. “It’s their first line of defense.”

Lentz said the city’s Fire Bureau “is available 24/7 to provide information on the proper installation of smoke detectors and has detectors available free to city residents.” Call 610-384-0300, ext. 3111, for more information, he said. The Coatesville Bureau of Fire is tentatively scheduled to go door-to-door to give away smoke detectors  after 1 p.m. tomorrow in the 500 block of East Chestnut Street, he said.

Anyone who wants to help the victims can make a donation through the Red Cross at www.RedCrossPhilly.org,  by texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling
1-800-REDCROSS. Smith said the agency relies on funds it receives from the public to aid victims of emergencies, who receive client-assistance cards so they can purchase necessities.

Lentz said Coatesville received assistance from the V.A., Thorndale, Modena, East Brandywine, Downingtown, Sadsburyville, Parkesburg, West Whiteland, Westwood, West Chester, Cochranville, Honeybrook and Martins Corner.



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