Two toddlers died in a fire that ripped through a Lake Elsinore home Monday, officials said.
Crews responded to the blaze at the single-story home in the 32900 block of Blackwell Drive shortly before 3 p.m. and found heavy fire and thick smoke coming from the garage, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
The two small children, 16-month-old Arya Alcarez and her big brother 2-year-old Julian Alcarez, died in the blaze, while five adults and another child were taken to a hospital for treatment, officials said.
The children’s mother saw fire explode in the garage when she opened the door, and was able to escape along with her 90-year-old grandmother who was in a wheelchair, and one of her 16-month-old twins, but couldn’t get back in to get the other children, neighbors and family members told KTLA.
“All she kept saying is, ‘My babies. Get my babies out,'” neighbor Elvira Rivero said of the mother.
Several neighbors ran to help rescue the family from the fire, friends say. Rivero said her daughter was able to rescue one of the babies from the burning home.
Inside the burning home, the young boy, the other 16-month-old twin daughter and three dogs were behind a baby gate. They all died in the blaze.
Responding firefighters say they found a power line severed from the house and down in the front yard, with the home engulfed in flames.
“It was sparking because of the wind,” Rivero said.
About 80 to 90% of the grandmother’s body is covered in burns and she was placed in an induced coma, family friend Dolores Briseno told KTLA.
Family members said the mother also suffered burns on much of her body and remains hospitalized with her baby girl. A couple of neighbors were also hospitalized.
On Tuesday, a makeshift memorial stood outside the charred home as investigators probed the scene. Two GoFundMe campaigns were set up to help the family, and a spokeswoman for GoFundMe confirmed both were verified.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation and no further details were available.