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Refrigerator Electrical Malfunction Suspected in Fatal Pasadena Apartment Fire

Fire killed 4-year-old boy, left brother and mother critically injured

Published on Friday, July 31, 2020 | 5:20 am
4-year-old Keven Arias (at left) died and his 3-year-old brother (at right) and mother were critically burned in a July 29, 2020, Pasadena apartment fire. Images from GoFundMe:

Authorities have identified a 4-year-old boy who died in a Pasadena apartment fire on Wednesday initially blamed on a malfunctioning refrigerator that also left his 3-year-old brother and the children’s mother critically injured.

Keven Arias died in the fire, which broke out about 2 p.m. in the 100 block of East Washington Boulevard, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. Paramedics pronounced him dead on scene at 2:13 p.m.

His 3-year-old brother and mother, 29, were rushed to a hospital in critical condition with smoke inhalation and burns, Pasadena city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. They were subsequently flown by helicopter to a specialized burn center for further treatment.

The family members were found on the first-floor unit of a burning apartment after witnesses told responding firefighters there were people trapped inside, according to Pasadena Fire Department Interim Chief Bryan Frieders. Another apartment unit directly above the one where the victims were found was also consumed by the flames, but no additional injuries were reported.

A makeshift memorial and spray-painted tribute at the burned apartment unit at at 169 E. Washington Blvd. where a 4-year-old boy died and his brother and mother suffered critical injuries in a July 29, 2020 fire. Photo courtesy Pasadena Fire Dept.

A dog also died in the fire, Derderian said.

Preliminary investigation indicated an electrical malfunction in a refrigerator sparked the fire, she said. Further details were not available.

Three smoke detectors were found inside the home, but firefighters did not report hearing any of them sounding when they arrived, Derderian said. It was not clear whether they had functional batteries.

Residents of the entire building were displaced, as the utilities had to be shut off, she said.

The Red Cross assisted 10 residents in finding temporary lodging.

The official cause of the fire remained under investigation Thursday, she said. Frieders said Wednesday that there were no initial indications of anything suspicious.

A fundraiser established on to help the family had garnered more than $7,000 in donations within four hours of being posted on Thursday and reached $10,790 as of publication time Friday.

Also see: 4-Year-Old Boy Killed in Pasadena Apartment Fire; 3-Year-Old Brother and Mother Remain Hospitalized

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