California father dies with 3 kids while trying to save them from apartment fire sparked by Christmas tree
41-year-old Juan Moreno had gotten out of his burning home. However, he raced back in when he realized that 4-year-old Janessa, 8-year-old Isaac and 12-year-old Maria were still inside the house
California man, 41-year-old Juan Moreno, perished with his children in a house fire after he raced into the burning building to rescue his son and two daughters. His eight-year-old son was airlifted to hospital but later died of his injuries.
Moreno's wife Christina and two other children, including a newborn baby Cecily and 11-year-old Jaelyn, made it out alive. Moreno had gotten out of the home when the fire broke out at 1.15 am on December 27.
However, he raced back in when he realized that four-year-old Janessa, eight-year-old Isaac and 12-year-old Maria were still inside the house. All four died in the incident.
The fire broke out in Hemet, California, at the Olive Apartments at 1.15 am on December 27, causing 40 residents to be evacuated from their homes as well. The blaze reportedly started from a Christmas tree and is under investigation.
Hemet Fire Chief Scott Brown said: "This tragedy underscores how quickly a fire can spread. Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. Smoke alarms provide that critical early warning so you can get out quickly and are an important part of a home fire escape plan."
A GoFundMe account for the family raised more than $30,000 as of December 29 morning. Moreno's cousin's wife Elena Mozqueda, who is listed as the "organizer" of the fund-raising event, wrote in the appeal: "This morning my husbands (sic) family and I received horrible news of an apartment fire."
"It is tragic to know that this loving man, a father, a brother, a son who is my husbands (sic) blood cousin didn’t make it out of the fire along with his two girls ages 4 & 12. His son is still currently in critical condition but we are praying for the best," she continued.
She added, "Any donations will help for proper burials as well as to his family as he has his 11 year old daughter who thank god made it out of the fire and hoping for conditions to get better for his 9 year old son."
After donations crossed the original target figure of $20,000 in a day, Mozqueda posted an update: "Thank you everyone for your support! Everyone in our community and even in other communities have been such a help!"
"It saddens our family to say that Isaac who was fighting for his life has now passed.... rip baby boy we love you so much with your sisters and your daddy," she added.