A California mom set herself ablaze on Sunday in her home in Vallejo, starting a fire that killed her and her 14-year-old twin daughters, according to police.
Vallejo authorities on Thursday announced that their investigation drew on “physical and electronic evidence as well as victim and witness statements” in determining what killed mom Mau Dao, 47, and her girls, Tram and Trinh Tran, both in ninth grade and reportedly about to enter the 10th.
A third daughter, 11, was injured in the early morning fire but managed to escape and flag down officers, police said.
The girl is now with her father and is expected to make a full recovery, Capt. Lee Horton said in a news release.
“This was a tragic event for all involved,” he said. “Incidents of this nature are exceedingly difficult for the family, but also for the community and its first responders.”
Horton said Vallejo Police Department detectives and arson investigators had been working the case nonstop since Sunday.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise money to pay for the funerals of Dao and her two daughters as well as support her surviving daughter and her father, who will need to rebuild.
“We encourage any and all donations big or small – any bit you can offer will help the Tran family,” the page states.
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The family’s dog Milo, who had been missing since the blaze, was found alive with only minor burns. The 11-year-old “was so excited [that he survived] that she screamed,” according to the GoFundMe.
So far, more than $11,000 has been raised.
A video tribute to the twins was also posted by their wrestling team. The girls “lived our program mission to the core and because of what they did for others they will live on for eternity in our hearts!!!” according to the video.
A police officer patrolling the area was first alerted to the blaze around 2:45 a.m. on Sunday after smelling smoke. As the officer drove toward the home, the 11-year-old flagged the officer down and said there were three people still inside the house.
Police attempted to rescue Dao and her two daughters but the house was already engulfed in flames.
Vallejo firefighters were called in and were able to contain the fire. They made entry inside the residence and removed Dao and her daughters.
One of the twins perished at the scene. Her sister and mother died at a nearby hospital.
From the outset, police believed the fire was “suspicious in nature.”