Investigators worked Wednesday to pinpoint the cause of a South Los Angeles house fire that killed 2-year-old twin boys and left their father hospitalized with critical burn injuries sustained when he tried in vain to rescue his sons.
The fire was reported about 9:05 p.m. Tuesday in the 800 block of East 113th Street, between Central Avenue and Avalon Boulevard, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.
The twin boys, who were pronounced dead at a hospital, were identified by the coroner’s office as Brenton and Braeson Fortson.
The boys’ father was hospitalized with critical facial burns, and a woman, believed to be the children’s grandmother, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
Another woman, believed to be the nine-months-pregnant wife of the injured man and the children’s mother, escaped injury.
A 4-year-old girl was rescued by a neighbor prior to the firefighters’ arrival, Humphrey said.
The one-story, three-bedroom home that was decorated for the holidays was “well-involved” in flames when firefighters rolled up, Humphrey said. About eight dozen firefighters douses the flames in 20 minutes, he said.
“There was no immediate evidence of functional smoke alarms within the heavily damaged and well-secured home, at which firefighters had to force entry through security doors and window bars,” Humphrey said. “The residence was not equipped with optional fire sprinklers.”
The cause of the blaze was listed as “undetermined” but likely not “incendiary in nature,” according to the fire department.
In response to the deadly fire, firefighters passed out smoke detectors to some residents in the area.
“This tragedy surpasses our ability to put sorrow into words — but our hearts, thoughts and prayers will remain with all who have been affected by it,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in statement. “I have directed my Crisis Response Team to continue doing everything possible to support this family and their entire community at this time of indescribable loss.”
— City News Service
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