Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Thursday, April 13, 2006 at 06:05:34 :
Monday, April 26, 1971
Fire Kills Sleeping Novato Boy
A 22-month-old boy, left sleeping alone in a Novato house with a candle in his tiny bedroom, died early yesterday morning as the house was engulfed in flames.
The dead child, Buddha D’Fonseca, was found by Novato firemen called after motorists saw the fire about 4:25 a.m. in the small frame house at 1504 Armstrong Avenue.
The little boy’s mother, Louise Tillson, 20, was asleep at the time on a hillside about 150 feet in the rear of the house, as was a friend, Scott Allen Martin, 20, of 4 Devonshire Drive, Novato.
The mother told Novato police she did not know the house was on fire until she heard fire engines.
She said that she had last checked the baby, asleep on a mattress in a northwest bedroom, about 12:30 a.m. She said she left a candle in the bedroom but was not sure whether she had extinguished it, police said.
The mother, who gave her address as 2495 Novato Boulevard, said that she was watching the house for a woman friend, Beverly De Fonseca, who was out of town.
(Police said that Mrs. De Fonseca is not related to the dead baby but is currently married to the baby’s father.)
The house is owned by an investment company and rented by Mrs. De Fonseca, according to Fire Chief Jack Kidder.
He said two teen-age youths first saw the fire and roused a neighbor who called the fire department. The boys did not identify themselves, he said, and he asked that they report any information they know about the fire to firemen.
When firemen arrived, the house was a mass of flames. They found the baby when the flames had been quelled enough to enter the home.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Funeral arrangements for the baby are pending at Keaton’s Chapel of Marin in Novato.
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