PACOIMA (CBS) — A house fire claimed the life of a 40-year-old woman and injured her boyfriend Wednesday morning.

The fire broke out shortly before 9 a.m. at a converted garage at a home in the 12900 block of Sunburst Street in Pacoima, officials with the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

When firefighters arrived on scene, they found a 33-year-old adult male with minor burns to his face and suffering from smoke inhalation, officials said.

The body of a woman was found after firefighters searched the garage, according to Brian Humphrey of the LAFD.

A family member of the man told CBS2’s Amy Johnson that he was washing his car outside when the fire broke out. They say he tried to reach his girlfriend inside the garage, but the flames were too intense.

“I heard when he was saying, ‘babe, yet out, get out, babe.’ And I only heard it’s going two times, screaming ‘babe, babe,’ and that was it. I mean after that I didn’t hear anymore of her,” said homeowner Elisa Lugo.

She said they called 911 and threw water on the fire, but they could not get to the woman.

“He head into the house to save her and he got all burned, all his right here (pointing to her face), he got all his hair burned and his forehead and his hands,” Lugo said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

“We do have a deceased individual in a small area, so we’re trying to determine what caused such a severe fire spread in such a short amount of time,” said LAFD Captain Jaime Moore.

“I exactly don’t know what happened, I think, or how it happened. The only thing that I know is that I was in my room and then my son, the youngest one, screaming. He said that the house was going on flames,” Lugo said.

The family remained in shock over the tragedy that happened so close to home.

“I’m still in shock. It’s like, I cannot imagine seeing Irena all burned out in there. It’s terrible,” Lugo.

Authorities were still checking into whether the apartment was legally converted.


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