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Pot Cigarette Caused Fatal Fire

Mon., Oct. 16, 1995

An apartment fire that killed four children apparently was caused by the mother’s smoldering marijuana cigarette, police said.

Rena Raybon, 35, told police she passed out in the apartment after a night of drinking wine and smoking marijuana, The Oakland Tribune reported Sunday. No charges had been filed.

“There was no criminal intent or motive to harm the kids that I can see,” police Sgt. Paul Berlin said.

The fire early Saturday killed children ages 8 months to 15 years. A fifth child, 3-year-old Tony, was in “extremely critical” condition Sunday at an Oakland hospital.

“It was unbelievably sad,” police Officer William Hamrick said. “There was more than one firefighter with tears in his eyes.”

Raybon fled the apartment after awakening to flames, then returned to try to rescue the children. She watched as the eldest child stood inside near the bedroom window, yelling for help.

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