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March 18, 2004

Fatal fire near Bear blamed on wiring

From: The News Journal, DE - Mar 18, 2004

From staff reports 03/18/2004

The state Fire Marshal's Office has determined that a fire that claimed the lives of two small children last week in Bear was accidental, caused by a failure in the home's electrical wiring.

LaMonte Lavon Hendricks, 3, died of smoke inhalation in the March 10 blaze that destroyed the family's home in the 200 block of Arlene Court in Salem Woods. His 18-month-old sister, Bailee Stevena, died the next day at Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. The children's 18-year-old uncle, who is deaf, suffered minor injuries.

Assistant State Fire Marshal Richard Ward said Wednesday the home was not equipped with a smoke detector with a strobe light for the deaf as was initially reported.

The children's parents, Lermande and Wubu Hendricks, are deaf.

Ward said the electrical line connected to the smoke detector was destroyed. There was no battery backup.

Christiana Fire Company spokesman Thomas J. D'Alessandro III said firefighters took up a collection at their membership meeting Tuesday night and raised $825 for the Hendricks Family Fund.

Copyright ©2004, The News Journal.