One child was dead and another child and their mother was critically injured following a fire at an apartment building in Pasadena Wednesday, officials said.
The blaze sparked around 2 p.m. in the building at 169 E. Washington Blvd., the city said in a tweet.
The child who succumbed to his or her injuries was believed to be 3 years old, while the injured child is around 7 years old, Pasadena Fire Department spokesperson Lisa Derderian said. Both surviving victims were hospitalized for treatment.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the children were brothers, with the deceased victim being 4 years old and his brother 3 years old.
Crew members arrived on scene to find heavy fire and smoke pouring from a downstairs unit in the two-story building. The flames subsequently extended to the unit above on the second floor, said Bryan Frieders, Pasadena’s interim fire chief.
The chief believed the victims were in the lower unit when the fire broke out.
Neighbors described a terrifying scene and said good Samaritans tried to help the family.
“You could see the black smoke, the orange fire — everything was coming out, and she was just hollering,” said a woman named Monique who lives nearby.
Another man, Santos Herrera, said he ran across the street with a ladder to help rescue another woman and her children on the second floor.
Two of the building’s units were heavily damaged in the blaze, and there appeared to be significant damage to the entire building of about seven units, according to Frieders. He said the structure would not be habitable.
More than 50 firefighters were at the scene within seven minutes and able to swiftly attack the blaze, Frieders said.
“Because they got here so quick, they were able to knock the fire down and prevent the spread of fire to the adjacent occupancies and other structures in the area,” he told reporters at the scene.
No firefighters were hurt.
The fire’s cause has yet to be determined. Frieders said there was no immediate information to suggest it was suspicious in nature.
Authorities remained at the scene after the blaze was extinguished to investigate.
Residents were asked to avoid the area.