Fatal fire ruled accidental

Aptos—Fire investigators determined that the cause of a house fire that killed one woman and sent her daughter and elderly mother to the hospital was started accidentally by a small electrical appliance. Susan Wilkinson, 66, died early Monday morning following a blaze that broke out in her residence. Wilkinson’s daughter, Mary Burick, 43, and her mother, Merle Wilkinson, 89, were both hospitalized with serious injuries. Homicide detectives with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s department joined fire inspectors with the Aptos/La Selva Fire Department in investigating the source of the fire because of the fatality.


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