A 90-year-old woman who was badly burned when flames tore through the family’s Lake Elsinore home earlier this week has died, a family friend and a relative said Thursday.
Phyllis Fisher’s death is the third related to the Monday afternoon blaze in the 32900 block of Blackwell Drive.
“With great sadness i must report that the matriarch of the family, Baba, has succumbed to her injuries. The family is grateful that she is no longer in any pain, but are also completely grief stricken over another loss,” a GoFundMe page set up by a family friend read.
The death was also confirmed by another fundraising account started by a relative.
Two of the woman’s great-grandchildren, ages 1 and 2 years old, also died in the fire.
The blaze erupted shortly before 3 p.m. Monday. Responding firefighters arrived at the single-story home and found the garage engulfed in flames, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
The children’s mother smelled smoke, saw the fire explode in the garage and screamed for help, according to neighbors and family. Her 90-year-old grandmother, who was in a wheelchair, and three children were still inside the house, which also caught fire.
The woman’s grandmother and one of her children made it out, but she couldn’t get to the other twin and her 2-year-old son, who were both behind a baby gate with three dogs inside the burning house.
“All [the mother] kept saying is, ‘My babies. Get my babies out,’” neighbor Elvira Rivero told KTLA on Tuesday.
Several neighbors rushed to help the family, and Rivero’s daughter was able to rescue the 1-year-old from the burning home. One man helped pull Fisher to safety.
The toddlers who died in the blaze were identified as Arya Alcarez, 1, and Julian Alcarez, 2.
The other child and five adults were taken to hospitals for treatment, including a badly injured Fisher. She had suffered burns to about 80 to 90% of her body and was placed in an induced coma.
The children’s mother was “intubated and in critical condition,” according to one of the GoFundMe campaigns.
Two neighbors were also hospitalized in unknown condition.
Firefighters said they found a downed power line in the front yard, but it’s still unclear if that ignited the flames. An investigation into the cause is ongoing.