SJ Family Speaks Out After Fatal Fire

SJ family grieves after fatal fire.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The family of Dieu K. Ton is upset following a fatal fire at her apartment complex on Warfield Way. (Published Wednesday, May 2, 2012)

    The mother who died in the fatal San Jose three-alarm fire on Tuesday has been identified by her family as 51-year-old Dieu K. Ton.

    The Santa Clara County Coroner did not release her name on Wednesday, but in an interview with NBC Bay Area, Ton's brother, Hung Ton, said his sister, who worked in a nail salon, died in the 3 a.m. blaze in a four-plex  fire on Warfield Way off Tully Road.

    Ton also identified the boy left brain dead from the fire as his nephew, David Nguyen, a 6-year-old student at Stonegate Elementary School in San Jose. Ton hadn't visited the hospital on Wednesday to check on his nephew's condition. Representatives from the Franklin-McKinley School District were not comfortable on Wednesday to comment on the situation.

    Dieu Ton's husband, Peter Nguyen, underwent surgery after suffering severe cuts to his body. San Jose Fire Capt. Mary Gutierrez said in a previous interview that the father, who was listed in critical condition on Tuesday, had broken a glass window in an effort to free his family.

    A 12-year-old son, identified by his uncle as Philip Nguyen, did not suffer major injuries, and had been released from the hospital, where he had been monitored.

    Hung Ton did not say much else about his family -- he too, along with his wife and father lived in the apartment, where the heaviest fire damage was found in the garage. Firefighters on Wednesday had not yet determined the cause of the fire.

    And Ton had many questions.

    "I still don't know how the fire started," Ton said. "I was sleeping. I heard the neighbor knocking on the door. There was a lot of smoke."

    In an interview with NBC Bay Area Tuesday night, Ton said he was upset with what he characterized as a slow firefighter response in regards to treating his 6-year-old nephew. Gutierrez told NBC Bay Area that the boy was unconscious and not breathing when he was taken out of the burning building, and that crews were working their hardest to triage the situation and rescue the people from the burning building to their best ability.

    Gutierrez said the department always strives to do better, but that in this case, "We responded as quickly as we were able to. We never left the boy alone or unattended."

    Dieu Ton was the city's first fire fatality in a year.