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Fire injures woman, 2 teens

Largo firefighters found the woman, her 15-year-old son and his girlfriend stumbling out of the house when they arrived at 3:31 a.m.

A woman and two teenagers were injured early Thursday when flames erupted in their Largo house while they slept.

Cynthia Dean, her 15-year-old son, Jody, and his girlfriend were stumbling out of the house at 720 First St. SE when firefighters arrived at 3:31 a.m. Neighbors reported the blaze.

"We just assisted them when they were coming out of the house," said Largo District Fire Chief Pat McGinley. "As far as we know, they were sleeping at the time of the fire."

Dean, who turns 41 today, sustained second- and third-degree burns on her feet, one leg and one arm. Her son had second-degree burns on his back, shoulders and legs. The teenage girl, whose name was not released, was suffering from smoke inhalation.

They were all taken to Morton Plant Hospital, where they were treated and later released. They were staying with a relative and could not be reached.

McGinley estimated the loss at $60,000, but the cause of the fire had not been determined. It was unclear whether there was a smoke detector in the house or the house was insured.

Howard Catrett, a friend of the Dean family, shook his head as he tried to salvage valuables at the house. He said it looked as if Dean, who sells mobile homes, lost most of the home's contents.

"She's a fine, hard-working woman," Catrett said. "She's trying her best and now she's going to need a lot of help."

The house is divided into two apartments, McGinley said, and the fire started in the back apartment at the rear of the laundry room. A scorched dryer was in the back yard, its wiring burned and its drum mechanism removed.

"There was heavy fire showing on arrival," McGinley said. "It got up into the attic."

The blaze gutted two back rooms. Windows shattered throughout the house. Much of the rear wall was charred, and flames burned through the roof.

According to McGinley, the ceiling fell in the rear apartment when flames spread up into the attic. The remainder of the house had heavy smoke and heat damage.

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