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SE fire leaves 4 dead
(Published January 10, 2005)

Fire investigators blamed a space heater for a two-alarm fire Dec. 20 that left four people dead and destroyed their Southeast Washington rowhouse.

Firefighters recovered the bodies of two children and a woman from the charred home at 416 17th St. SE after another resident, identified by police as 70-year-old David Ferguson, jumped to his death from a second-story window in an effort to escape the flames.

Police identified the other victims as 30-year-old Joy Hellams, 11-year-old Alisha McAllister and 5-year-old Daisha Reid. Fire officials said an 8-year-old boy and a 57-year-old man escaped from the burning home without injury. A next-door neighbor who complained of breathing problems was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Firefighters were dispatched in response to a telephoned report of the fire at about 4:30 a.m.

A trust fund has been established to help the family of the fire victims. Donations may be sent to the Friendship Fire Association in the care of Engine Company 3 at 439 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001.

Copyright 2005 The Common Denominator