WILMINGTON (CBSLA.com) — Police have made an arrest in a house fire that seriously injured three children in Wilmington Thursday.
The man arrested could face attempted murder charges after police say the neighbor intentionally set the house on fire.
Paramedics and a police officer rescued the two girls and a boy from a burning duplex, but the children suffered critical burn injuries.
The officer suffered smoke inhalation while helping to rescue one of the children, who ranged in age from 11 to 15, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The children and the Los Angeles police officer, who was in fair condition, were all taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, according to the LAFD.
Neighbors said the mother could only watch as her children were rescued from their burning home.
“She’s sitting there, just wailing at the top of her lungs. Just basically help her she couldn’t do anything,” said witness Latoya Higgins.
Neighbors say they heard screams for help and rushed out to see smoke billowing from a two-story home.
Jorge Rodriguez was on his way to the gym when he heard the yelling, saw the smoke and climbed up to the second story. Cell phone video shows him at a window where he says he helped pull one of the girls out.
“Burned the head, the face. Everything,” said Rodriguez.
Another man says he also climbed up in an attempt to break the windows.
“I jumped on the roof and tried to pull the bars off,” said Darryl.
Neighbors credit each other with helping get the kids out.
“Thank you for our heroes,” said Higgins. “Thank you for the neighbors that just come in and jump in and don’t wait.”
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