San Gabriel, CA Three Die In House Fire, May 1956


San Gabriel -- A mother and two children were trapped and burned to death and the father was in critical condition last night after a pre-dawn fire destroyed their San Gabriel home.
The victims were an Irish immigrant family, here only six months after years of hoping for a home in America.
MRS. AILEEN ROBBINS, 40, and her two children, JACK, 17, and KATHLEEN, 8, died in the flames.
The father, PATRICK, 40, only one of the four to be pulled from the blazing house at 609 E. Dewey St., was on the critical list at General Hospital with second and third degree burns on his face, arms and upper body.
The fire was spotted by Police Sgt. JOHN D'ANGELO and the entire San Gabriel Fire Department answered his call, but the house was completely enveloped in flames.
Sgt. D'ANGELO said he could hear the doomed family moaning inside the building, but "the fire was so hot I couldn't get close to it."
A neighbor, JAMES G. THORNBERRY, 617 E. Dewey St., had been awakened by the crackle of flames and got to a bed room window in time to drag the father from the house.
The bodies of all other victims, burned beyond recognition, were found in the ruins after firemen had controlled the blaze.
Firemen said the blaze apparently started from a gas heater on the service porch of the home, and it was possible, that MRS. ROBBINS had been overcome while trying to fight the blaze in its early stages.
The family had been sponsored as immigrants by MRS. ROBBINS' brother, GEORGE JONES, 3339 N. Burton Ave., San Gabriel, and had been active since their arrival in Catholic Church work here. In the ruins of their home were found rosaries and other religious objects.

The Independent Pasadena California 1956-05-15