California boy, 8, dies in fire that killed father, sisters

December 29, 2019 GMT

HEMET, Calif. (AP) — An 8-year-old boy who was gravely injured in an apartment fire in Southern California that killed his father and two sisters has died.

Hemet Fire Chief Scott Brown said the boy died Saturday afternoon, a day after the fire broke out in his family’s apartment in Hemet, 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles while everyone was asleep.

The boy’s 41-year-old father got his wife, their infant and their 11-year-old child out of the apartment and then went back to try to save their other children. Juan Moreno and his daughters, 4-year-old Janessa and 12-year-old Maria, appeared to have died from injuries related to heat and burns, Brown said.

Fire investigators said an electrical malfunction on or near the Christmas tree sparked the fire shortly after 1 a.m. Friday. The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports the fire spread through a common attic in the two-story, 25-unit apartment complex and displaced 40 other people.

A coworker at Ramko Injections, which makes parts for aerosapce, cars, electronics and medical uses, said Juan Moreno was a “the best father ever.”

“He always talked about his kids and took care of them and always went to their awards at school and always was with them wherever he went,” Gilbert Najera told the newspaper.