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Mother Jumps To Death In Fire As Children Urge Her Not To

August 6, 1987 GMT

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ A woman panicked by heavy smoke ignored the pleas of her children and jumped six floors to her death from a burning hotel Thursday, authorities said.

Another guest was critically injured when he jumped from a fifth-floor window. At least 21 other people were treated for minor injuries from the early-morning fire at the Carlton Hotel, authorities said.

Fire officials cited the hotel’s owner, Berger Hotel Corp., for failing to have a fire door to the basement of the seven-story hotel and for debris in the basement.

Fire Director Claude Coleman said the fire started in the basement in a plastic garbage bin.

″It could have been caused by any means whatsoever,″ he said, and arson authorities were investigating.

Louise Frayne, 57, jumped from her sixth-floor window shortly after police received the report of the fire at 2:35 a.m., Coleman said.

″Her three (teen-age) children were urging her not to jump,″ he said. ″They stayed and were subsequently rescued.″

Coleman called the fire ″relatively minor,″ and said Mrs. Frayne was driven to jump by panic caused by heavy smoke. ″This is a thing that could have been prevented.″

Officials said fire damage was confined largely to the basement.

The hotel’s 150 rooms were filled, said owner Miles Berger, about half with homeless people whose rooms were paid for by the state and county.

The hotel also has transient and weekly guests. Mrs. Frayne had been at the Carlton for several years, he said.

Scores of residents in rooms not damaged by the smoke and fire were allowed to return around 5 a.m., police said.

Since buying the hotel in 1981, Berger said he has spent millions of dollars on renovation, including new smoke alarms that are centrally controlled. The alarm went off within seconds of the start of the fire, he said.

Coleman said no previous citations had been issued to the hotel since Berger took over, and that it passed inspection in June 1986.