A fire that tore through a Hemet apartment complex Friday killed a father and two young girls, leaving an 8-year-old boy with life-threatening injuries.
The fire, which displaced 40 residents, erupted about 1:10 a.m. in the Olive Apartments at 150 N. Alessandro Street, near Latham Avenue, according to the Hemet Police Department.
Agency spokesman Lt. Jeff Davis said that when police and fire personnel reached the location, more than three-quarters of the occupants of the 25-unit complex had already gotten out.
Video from the scene showed thick smoke around the complex as Hemet police officers went door to door to alert residents to evacuate the building.
The blaze was raging on the northeast corner of the structure, Davis said, and a woman immediately informed public safety officials that the flames had started in her and her husband’s apartment. The woman told authorities that her spouse, identified only as a 41-year-old Hemet man, grabbed their infant and an 11-year-old child, carrying them to safety, then darted back into the burning building for the rest of his children.
“It’s my understanding that … the 41-year-old male … went back inside to rescue other family members that were not able to get out, and he wasn’t seen alive after that, unfortunately,” Hemet police Lt. Nate Miller told CBS2.
According to Davis, firefighters discovered a 4-year-old girl, 12-year-old girl and their father dead inside the scorched apartment.
The family’s 8-year-old son was rescued, but he suffered extensive injuries and was airlifted to UCI Medical Center in Orange in grave condition, according to the lieutenant.
There was no word on what triggered the blaze. Red Cross staff were assisting the displaced residents.
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