Officials: House lacked detectors

A walk-through of a home recently ravaged by fire revealed that the house on Castleton Avenue had no smoke detectors, fire officials said, stressing the potentially life-saving capabilities of the devices.

On Wednesday afternoon, firefighters responded to Dorothy Wissing’s house at 79 Castleton Ave. in Daly City’s Westlake district, and found the two-story home with flames coming out of the windows.

Wissing, 87, who was bed-ridden, was pronounced dead on the scene, but her live-in caretaker was taken to Seton Medical Center with unspecified, non-life-threatening injuries.

An investigation into the cause of the Wednesday afternoon house fire that killed Wissing was still pending, said Angelina Ciucci, the public information officer for North County Fire Authority.

“The smoke detectors are going to give you the early detection,” Ciucci said. “We can’t say that the outcome would’ve been any different.”

Interviews with neighbors revealed that many on the block did not have smoke detectors, officials added.

The detectors give residents extra minutes to assess the problem, get out, call 911 or call for help, Ciucci said.

Friends remembered Wissing as a thoughtful and sweet woman who was quick with a compliment on holiday decorations and who would bring back trinkets for neighbors when she traveled abroad.

Neighbor James Tarantino said he had exchanged Christmas gifts with Wissing every year.

Her friends added she had a fondness for owl figurines, evident by their presence on her mantle seen through windows punched out by heat and flame.

dsmith@examiner.com

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