8-Year-Old Boy Dies from Injuries After Hemet Christmas Tree Fire Kills Father, 2 Sisters

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An 8-year-old Hemet boy died Saturday from injuries he suffered in an apartment fire authorities say was sparked by a Christmas tree that also claimed the lives of his father and two sisters early Friday, according to family.

Firefighters respond to a fire in Hemet on Dec. 27, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)
Firefighters respond to a fire in Hemet on Dec. 27, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

Janessa Moreno, 4; Maria Moreno, 12; Juan Moreno, 41,  died just after the 1 a.m. fire at the Olive Apartments, 150 N. Alessandro Street, Hemet Police Department officials said.

Isaac Moreno, 8, succumbed to his injuries Saturday, family said.

Firefighters arrived at the scene to find the two-story building engulfed in flames, Hemet police spokesman Nathan Miller previously said.

Evidence and witness statements indicate that the fire was electrical in nature and originated at the family’s Christmas tree, police said in a news release Saturday.

Juan Moreno initially escaped the burning apartment with his wife, their 11-year-old daughter and an infant, but he went back inside to rescue his other children, officials said.

“He didn’t make it out,” Miller said.

A neighbor, Francisco Paez, described seeing the mother screaming and crying as she held her baby.

“It broke my heart,” Paez said. “That’s why I tried to go in there and see what I could do but the flames were already too, they were higher, too dangerous. I couldn’t get in there.”

The fire displaced dozens of other residents in the 25-unit building.

In a statement Saturday, Hemet Fire Department Chief Scott Brown highlighted the importance of smoke alarms and encouraged people to call the agency at 951-765-2450 for more information about fire prevention.

“This tragedy underscores how quickly a fire can spread,” Brown said.

KTLA’s Alexandria Hernandez contributed to this report. 

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