VALLEJO (CBS SF) — Police in Vallejo on Thursday afternoon confirmed that the fatal house fire over the weekend that killed a woman and her two twin teenage daughters started after the woman lit herself on fire in a suicide attempt.
Vallejo police detectives and arson investigators have been working on the case since the early morning fire on Sunday, August 5th.
Vallejo police officers patrolling the 2900 block of Georgia Street smelled smoke and went to investigate the source around 2:45 a.m.
They came upon an 11-year-old girl suffering from burns who flagged them down and told them that three other people were trapped inside the burning home.
The officers called the fire department and attempted to enter the home, but were forced back by the intense flames that had engulfed the structure.
47-year-old Mau Dao and her two 14-year-old twin daughters Trinh and Tram Tran were killed in the fire.
Earlier this week, police said the house fire was being investigated as a homicide. However, on Thursday they announced that the physical and electronic evidence coupled with victim and witness statements indicated that Dao set herself on fire inside the residence.
Dao’s 11-year-old daughter was injured in the fire, but is expected to make a full recovery and is now with her father.
Friends and classmates gathered at Hogan Middle School Monday afternoon, where the girls were on the wrestling team.
“Trinh was the soft-spoken but strong silent type, Tram was the bubbly, uplifting type,” wrestling coach Jason Guiducci told KPIX 5. “But you knew that they loved everyone here and everyone loved them in return. There was no way you couldn’t love those kids.”
A close friend says she received a text from one of the girls less than an hour before the fire. It says, “Sarah, are you awake? I’m really scared.”
The Vallejo Police Department has classified the case as a suicide that resulted in two homicides.
“This was a tragic event for all involved. Incidents of this nature are exceedingly difficult for the family, but also for the community and its first responders,” the press release regarding the fatal fire read.
Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Detective Yates and Detective Poyser of the Vallejo Police Department Detective Division (707) 648-4080. Refer to case number 18-9877.