Woman in Wheelchair, Cats, Birds Die in Hayward Fire

An elderly woman in a wheelchair was killed in a Hayward house fire Friday morning, though her niece and nephew were able to get out safely.

Two cats and two parakeets also died in the fire.

Firefighters responded to a report of the fire in the 24800 block of Townsend Avenue shortly before 1 a.m., Fire Capt. Don Nichelson said.
A husband and wife discovered the fire in the bedroom, but couldn't put out the fire, Nichelson said.

They were not able to rescue their aunt, who was still inside. They told firefighters to rescue her - and they were able to carry her outside of the home. But it was too late -- Nichelson said she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The blaze was under control around 1:10 a.m., Nichelson said. The man was transported to a hospital for chest pains while his wife didn't suffer any injuries.
Fire investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire, which may have been caused by an electrical issue, Nichelson said. He added there were many appliances plugged into one socket.

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