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Rialto couple die in apartment fire, other tenants displaced

By in Press Enterprise on February 9, 2018

By Gail Wesson

A 51-year-old man and his 44-year-old wife with disabilities died in an apartment complex fire Thursday night that displaced other residents of a 16-unit apartment complex in Rialto, according to a Rialto Fire Department spokesman.

Firefighters found the two victims “right about at the front door,” said Rialto Battalion Chief Brian Park, who called it a “tragic, tragic story.”

“It looked like he was trying to pull her out,” Park said. The victims’ names will not be released until next-of-kin are notified.

The fire at the West Merrill Avenue complex at South Willow Avenue affected the one unit on the second floor.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

When firefighters got the call at about 7 p.m., they arrived to see heavy fire and smoke coming out of the one unit. The fire was controlled within 20 minutes.

Firefighters and Rialto police helped evacuate other tenants from the building. No one else was injured. Because of the fire, water used and utilities, the residents were displaced, with the American Red Cross asked to assist seven adults find alternative shelter. At least 20 residents were displaced.

FINAL: Fire contained to one apartment. Two civilian fatalities occurred in the unit. Smoke and fire damage to adjacent units. @RedCrossDTS assisting with 20+ displaced residents. Investigators are on scene.

— Rialto Fire (@RialtoFireDept) February 9, 2018

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