A mother and her three children were killed when a fire ripped through a mobile home in Big Bear Lake on Christmas morning, authorities said.
Deputies responded to reports of a residential structure fire in the 500 block of Alden Road around 5:45 a.m. Friday and found a mobile home fully engulfed in flames, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Authorities at the scene later said that when the fire erupted outside the home by the carport, a male resident went out and tried to extinguish the flames with a garden hose.
However, it quickly spread and grew beyond what he could handle, according to Nick Bruinsma of the Big Bear Fire Department.
He then broke the windows of the house and screamed to the mother of his children to hand the kids to him. When she didn’t respond, he ran back inside the burning home, but the fire was too intense.
He was badly burned and eventually retreated, unable to pull his family out from the fiery inferno.
The injured man made it out of the house, but told one of the deputies that four individuals were still inside, sheriff’s officials said in a statement.
Big Bear Lake fire personnel responded and attempted to go in and rescue the four people inside, but were unable to do so because of an imminent roof collapse, according to the statement.
Neighbor Travis Byrne told KTLA his wife was feeding their 7-month-old son around 5:45 a.m. when she saw the fire and woke him up. He said in a phone interview that he saw flames coming from the mobile home and immediately called 911.
Byrne then evacuated the home with his family, which included his wife and three kids, and his mother-in-law and father-in-law.
Once outside, he witnessed a man come out of the house wearing pajamas and flip flops, Byrne said. The man was burned, his feet and hands were bloodied, and he had black smoke residue on him.
At one point, firefighters were able to bring the badly burned woman out of the house.
“They pulled her from the house and tried resuscitating her, and they were unsuccessful … Her arm just kept falling off the gurney, and so they stopped trying to resuscitate her,” Byrne said.
He added, “All the three children were inside. And we haven’t seen them come out yet.”
Officials confirmed that a 34-year-old woman and three children — an 8-year-old girl, 3-year-old boy and 6-month-old girl — died in the fire. The Sheriff’s Department hasn’t released their names.
The injured man was airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center for treatment. His condition was not immediately known.
Byrne said that the area had received about 1 to 1.5 inches of snow overnight, and that may have prevented other nearby homes from catching fire.
An investigation into what caused the deadly fire was ongoing.
A GoFundMe page has been started to cover the costs of the victims’ funerals. Click here to donate.
KTLA’s Feven Kiflegiorgis contributed to this story.
Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly identified a woman in the photo as the mother killed in the fire. She was later identified to KTLA as the woman’s niece.