Mother released from hospital after tragic Merced fire, infant still ‘critical’

rparsons@mercedsun-star.comDecember 6, 2013 

— A 28-year-old Merced woman who survived a fire earlier this week that claimed the lives of her husband and two children was released from the hospital on Friday.

The woman’s 1-year-old daughter remains in critical condition at Fresno Regional Medical Center, Merced City Fire Capt. Billy Alcorn confirmed.

The woman’s name has not been released.

Ignacio Figueroa-Bautista, 31, the woman’s husband, and two 5-year-olds, Geraldine Figueroa-Perez and Jesus Perez-Manzo, died in the fire, which started about midnight Tuesday in the living room of their duplex at 264 E. 10th St. in Merced and gutted the unit. Witnesses said Figueroa-Bautista died while attempting to save the two 5-year-olds, one his daughter and the other described as a nephew who was living with the family.

Investigators have been unable to speak with the woman since the fire.

Alcorn said Friday that exactly what sparked the fire is still the main focus of the investigation. Firefighters are working with private insurance investigators to determine the cause.

Officials have said it is too early to comment on any possible causes and have not ruled out any possibilities. However, the Merced Police Department said Friday that there do not appear to be any criminal aspects to the case.

Investigators are asking anyone who may have witnessed the fire or who has any information to contact the Fire Department’s investigation unit at (209) 388-8822. Tips can be given anonymously.

School officials at Don Stowell Elementary School, where the two children attended separate kindergarten classes, established a memorial fund to help the family pay for medical costs and the three funerals.

Donations can be made to the Geraldine and Jesus Perez Memorial Fund at the Educational Employees Credit Union at 127 W. El Portal Drive in Merced or by calling (800) 538-3328.

Reporter Rob Parsons can be reached at rparsons@mercedsunstar.com or (209) 385-2482.

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