East Side Fire Kills Mother, Two Children

February 23, 1999 Madison, WI

A 2-year-old playing with a butane lighter likely started a fatal East Side fire that ended in his death and the deaths of his mother and brother at 5309 Trafalger Place.

The boy had a history of playing with fire. Investigators also found at least two accessible lighters, one of which had had its child safety device removed. The child evidently ignited a urethane foam mattress in a front, second-floor bedroom of the house.

The three were quickly overcome by carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, toxic byproducts of burning urethane. Hydrogen cyanide is 25 times more deadly than carbon monoxide.

Fire officials said the battery had been removed from the second-floor smoke detector.

Deborha Moore (34) died later that day.
Paul Braun III (2) died the next day.
Zachary Solberg (10 weeks) removed from life support three weeks later.