Dozens of residents of Rollingwood Apartments gathered Sunday night for a candlelight vigil after three people, including two young children, died when fire raced through their West Covina residence in the early morning hours.
The fire was reported just before 1 a.m. on the 1900 block of East Amar Road.
When city fire crews and police arrived, they encountered flames and heavy smoke billowing from a single unit, authorities said. Multiple residents from other units were evacuated.
It took firefighters about 15 minutes to extinguish the flames, though it was too late for a little girl believed to be 3 months old, her 3-year-old brother and their grandmother.
The children’s mother could be heard screaming in pain about the loss of her family.
Neighbors tried saving their lives before first responders arrived, but the flames were too intense.
“I saw through the window a big fireball come down through that apartment over there and the first thing I reacted, the kids, you know, they have kids and I guess we panicked and we just all went outside and were trying to put it out,” a neighbor named Victor said.
“The mother losing both her children is just horrific,” another neighbor, Eddie Mireles, told KTLA.
Two other apartments sustained smoke damage as a result of the flames.
Neighbors say they are devastated over the deaths.
“I would walk my dog, the kids would be playing, playing with chalk, playing with their little toy cars on the grass and dirt, you know, just like any other kids,” Mirales said.
The coroner has so far not released the identities of the deceased. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family. A second fundraising page was set up to help the family with “basic needs so they can focus on processing their tragic loss.”