Mother of 5 dies trying to save children from blaze



A single mother of five in California died after she tried to save her children from a fire.

Fire officials at the Kern County Fire Department said when they arrived to the two-story home Thursday, they were told one person was still inside.

They tried to rescue her, but found her body during the rescue operation, CNN reported.

The woman, identified as Kristina Stratton, is believed to have run in to the home to save her family, but was not able to get out herself.

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The children were able to get out by jumping from a second-story window, pastor Angelo Frazier told KERO.

A fifth child, a daughter, was outside with Stratton before the fire began, CNN reported.

Stratton was a single mother, widowed four years ago when her husband and the father of her three youngest children died from cancer, CNN reported.

The children are between the ages of 7 and 18, KFSN reported.

Firefighters are trying to determine the cause of the fire, KFSN reported.

Kern County interim Fire Chief David Witt said fires are common and that families need to have a plan in case of an emergency, KERO reported.

Witt said in a written statement to KERO:

"We have to be vigilant, as families, to prepare and practice what needs to be done before, during and even after a fire.  I'd like to take this time to remind everyone about some of the pillars of being fire safe in the home: 1. Make sure you and your family have a fire escape plan. Walk through your home and go through all possible exits and escape routes. Know two ways out of each room. Choose a meeting place a safe distance away from the home where everyone can meet after they have escaped. Once you are out, stay out! Then, call 911. 2. Close the door. A closed door in a home can slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. 3. Always have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Install smoke alarms inside every sleeping room, outside every sleeping area, and on every level on the home. 4. Always remember, in any emergency, call 911."

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