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Elderly Couple and Cat Perish in Mar Vista Home Fire

Doris Bergman and Albert Sassoe Jr. victims in Wednesday morning fire

By Sam Catanzaro

An elderly couple and their cat perished in an early morning fire in a Mar Vista home Wednesday.

According to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), the incident was reported around 2:20 a.m. to a home located at 3537 May Street.

LAFD spokesperson Brian Humphrey, the caller disconnected before their needs could be determined.

Because the caller ID feature of their wired telephone provided both a callback phone number and a definitive address, an LAFD crew was promptly dispatched to investigate, as dispatchers sought unsuccessfully to reconnect with the caller,” Humphrey said.

The initial LAFD responders arrived to find fire visible from the rear of a one-story home and immediately summoned additional firefighting resources. The first arriving 20 LAFD personnel, under the command of Battalion Chief Robert Takeshita, fully extinguished the intense blaze z- which largely involved the kitchen and living room – by 2:50 a.m.

“In searching the premises, firefighters located a man, woman and pet cat lifeless inside the burnt home. Beyond medical or veterinary assistance, they were determined to be dead at the scene,” Humphrey said.

No other injuries were reported.

According to the LAFD, the home did not have operational fire sprinklers

“With severe fire damage to the structure, there was no immediate evidence that the 1,096 square-foot residence was equipped with functional smoke alarms, as required by law. The 73-year-old building did not feature optional residential fire sprinklers,” Humphrey said.

Monetary loss from the fire is still being determined by the LAFD. Though foul play is not suspected, the cause of the deadly blaze remains the focus of an active LAFD investigation, Humphrey noted.

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, the victims are 65-year-old Albert Sassoe Jr. and 68-year-old Doris Bergman. Neighbors told reporters the couple was in their 70s. Neighbors say they mostly to themselves but were occasionally seen walking around the neighborhood.

The coroner has not yet determined the specific cause, time and manner of their death.

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