‘I would’ve called CPS’: Details unravel after Wallingford dad allegedly kills family in house fire

Feb 3, 2024, 9:16 AM

wallingford house fire...

The Wallingford house fire back in Sept. 2023. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

We’re learning new details about the days leading up to the September murders of a mother and two of her three kids, who were killed in a Wallingford house fire.

One daughter, 11-year-old Lulu, was the sole survivor after she jumped out of a window. The father, Salvatore Ragusa, was accused of setting the fire and then killing himself.

“It’s just unbelievable to me,” said Adrea Sloniker. “Something had to have been wrong with him to do that kind of damage.”

Sloniker’s little sister, Lana Stewart, was the mother who died alongside two of her three kids, 7-year-old Sebastiano ‘Seby’ and 4-month-old Valentina.

“I don’t think it was so much about herself, but it was to save her brother and sister,” said Sloniker.

It’s 11-year-old Lulu, who managed to escape out of the back window as the flames ravaged her home.

“She just knew she had to survive,” Sloniker explained. “She almost had to survive a whole week previous to that.”

Lulu’s strength to survive came before that fateful day.

More on the Wallingford house fire: 2 children, 2 adults, dog found dead after Wallingford house fire

Sloniker tells KIRO 7 the family had gotten into a car accident a week before, landing them all in the hospital.

It was the last time she spoke with her sister, Lana.

“I asked her who was driving, and she said she didn’t know,” she explained. “And so right away I knew that she was covering up for him once again.”

Ragusa had a long history of mental health issues. In 2022, he had set fire to the Queen Anne home where the family was living and threatened to kill himself. He agreed to go into a court-supervised mental health program.

However, the problems were far from over.

In that same week, Sloniker says the family checked into a motel because he felt the government was out to get him.

There was one more incident so traumatic, that she couldn’t talk about it.

“That event, I would’ve called CPS over,” she said.

Events that Sloniker didn’t know until after the fact.

“Maybe get help earlier, and I think it was just way too late.”

But it wasn’t too late for Lulu, a true story of survival that brings life back into the family.

More on the Wallingford house fire: Man who died in Wallingford fire identified, faced arson charge in 2019

“She was so close to dying in the fire, I’m just so happy she’s alive,” Sloniker added. “She has her freedom, freedom she’s never known before.”

Friday, February 2nd would’ve been Lana’s 41st birthday. A day they will celebrate in honor of her life and the children.

If you’d like to help Lulu toward her future education, click here for the GoFundMe.

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‘I would’ve called CPS’: Details unravel after Wallingford dad allegedly kills family in house fire