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Mothers, 4 children killed in fiery wreck near Los Angeles

June 28, 2016 GMT

GORMAN, Calif. (AP) — A fiery minivan wreck in northern Los Angeles County killed two mothers and their four children early Tuesday, while the two hysterical fathers of the families were held back from the flames.

The minivan was partially in the right-hand lane after a minor wreck on Interstate 5, about 65 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. A semi-truck slammed into the van from behind, and it quickly caught fire, CHP Officer Frank Romero said.

The two fathers, who were inside the van when it was hit, suffered burns trying to save their wives and four children, Romero said.

The semi driver and two CHP officers who already had been on their way to the scene also scrambled to help save the families. The officers were singed on their arms and heads, according to CHP.

The fire was burning far too fast and hot for fire extinguishers or life-saving efforts to work, Romero said.

The CHP officers had to hold the fathers back from the van, he said.

“It’s absolutely horrible,” Romero said. “I can’t imagine.”

CHP Officer Dan Williams, who held the fathers back with his partner, told reporters at the scene that they arrived to see the van catch fire.

He said his partner tried to get through a door, but “the flames came at him, he had to back out.”

“Words can’t describe it,” Williams said. “It was very horrific seeing them try to get their families out, us trying to help get their families out.”

His partner, Jeff Burdick, said it was hard to pull the fathers away from the fire.

“We just held them,” Burdick said. “That’s all we could do.”

The men were taken to a hospital for their burns. The accident was under investigation.