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    City Hall Says Fatal MLK Ave. Fire Was In Garage Illegally Converted Into Living Space

    (Dec. 14, 2007) -- A fire in the 1000 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. that took lives of two girls, with a third in a hospital fighting for her life, occurred in a garage illegally converted into living space in violation of City Codes, the City of Long Beach states in a release issued at late afternoon today (Dec. 14). reported the fatal fire on our front page ( this morning. Mayor Bob Foster and Fire Chief Dave Ellis arrived after daybreak to view the aftermath.

    The area is at the southern end of the 6th Council district (within half a block of the 1st Council district boundary).

    "My heartfelt condolences are extended to the family and loved ones of the victims of this tragic fire," said 6th district Councilman Dee Andrews in the release. "My thoughts and prayers are with the little victim who is fighting for her life. Losing a loved one is hard, but to have them taken at such young ages is painful for us all. I am supporting the ongoing Fire Department investigation into this tragedy, and my fellow Councilmembers and I will take immediate action to support the conclusions. During this holiday time it is important that we reflect on what is more important to us all."

    In a release, City Manager Pat West said, "Our hearts go out to the girls’ families during this extremely difficult time." He added, "Illegal garage conversions are extremely dangerous places for people to live, due to their inherent health, safety, electrical, plumbing and structural problems. I strongly urge all residents to report Code Violations to the City’s Code Violation hotline, 570-CODE (2633), which serves as a single point to report violations. We will follow up, and anonymous tips can be accepted."

    Deputy City Manager Reggie Harrison told at late afternoon that a fire investigation is ongoing.

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