Fire Kills Little Girl in El Reno

Thursday, November 25th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A family is mourning the loss of a 21-month-old girl, who died when the bedroom in which she was sleeping caught fire.

El Reno Fire Department Capt. Sterling Smith said the fire started about 7:23 a.m. Wednesday in a second-story bedroom. Jean Anne Gouger was sleeping in the room when the fire started. She was pronounced dead at the scene, Smith said.

El Reno police spokesman Fred Savage said there are some preliminary indications of how the fire started. The mattress the child was sleeping on was next to an exposed wall heater vent pipe, Savage said. There were also clothes lying near the pipe. There were no smoke detectors in the house. Savage said investigators are trying to determine whether there were any fire code violations at the rented home.

Passersby first noticed smoke coming out of the home's roof, Savage said. The two knocked on the door and were able to help a woman and a 4-year-old child escape.

"From what I understand, by the time they (firefighters) got there it was just a big ball of flames and smoke," Savage said.

The child's mother had left earlier that morning to go to Watonga, Savage said. Jean Anne was left in the care of the woman who was in the house when the fire occurred, he said.

This is the first fire fatality in El Reno this year, Smith said.