Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

One of nine victims of a fire in a San Juan Capistrano condominium complex has died, authorities said Wednesday.

The Orange County Coroner’s officer said he was 3-year-old Jaiden Liborio, one of the victims of the fire in the 26500 block of La Zanja Street. The victim’s 2-year-old brother and his mother remained in grave condition.

The fire, in a second-floor unit, was reported around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said.

Firefighters rescued the boys and the 20-year-old woman, who were taken to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo in “grave condition,” Concialdi said. The mother was later transferred to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange to be treated at that hospital’s burn unit, he added.

Concialdi said that the cause of the fire was “most likely a juvenile playing with a lighter in the living room.” He said the fire caused $180,000 damage to the structure and $40,000 damage to the contents.

About 80 residents were displaced by the fire, Concialdi said. Eight condos were damaged, including two by fire, Concialdi said. Eight adults and nine children were living in one of the units, Concialdi said.

Neighbors helped rescue a mother in her mid-20s and her 3-year-old and 2- year-old daughters, Concialdi said.

“The fire was so intense she could not get to the front door so she ran to a window in the back and other neighbors in the alley below yelled to her to throw the kids down to them, and that’s what she did,” Concialdi said. The two tots suffered smoke inhalation, but were otherwise unharmed, Concialdi said.

The woman jumped to safety, cushioning her fall with a toddler-sized mattress neighbors put down for her, Concialdi said. She was taken to Saddleback Hospital in San Clemente in moderate condition to be treated for smoke inhalation, the captain said.

Another woman, who is in her late 40s, described as a grandmother, suffered a serious leg injury when she jumped from the burning building and missed the mattress, Concialdi said. She also suffered burns and was eventually taken to UC Irvine in Orange in serious condition, Concialdi said.

A five-year-old boy was also tossed to safety and another 7-year-old boy managed to get out of the burning building by himself, according to Concialdi. They were taken to Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach to be treated for “moderate” smoke inhalation-related injuries.

“There were smoke alarms, but unfortunately they did not have batteries in them,” Concialdi said.

A family dog was found hiding inside the unit by firefighters conducting a secondary search, and the animal was given oxygen, Concialdi said.

Thousands of smoke alarms have been donated to the OCFA and are available to families in need, Concialdi said. Anyone interested in obtaining an alarm was urged to call (714) 573-6190.

—City News Service

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