LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A 66-year-old woman was killed and a 35-year-old woman critically injured Saturday morning in a house fire in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
The 66-year-old woman, who was taken to an area hospital in serious condition, was later pronounced dead, said Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Crews responded at 4 a.m. to the home on the 2200 block of East Sheridan Street, and located a one-story house with fire showing, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Knockdown of the fire was declared at 4:30 a.m., Stewart said.
The 66-year-old woman, identified as Melinda Rodriguez, was described by neighbors as a loving mother of eight children who watched over her grandchild every day so that his mother, a 34-year-old woman injured in the blaze, could go to work.
Inside the home was Rodriguez and her husband Francisco, two of their children and their 3-year-old grandson.
Neighbors say it was Rodriguez who helped get her family out.
“They old us that they were all asleep. She had the grandson on her arm and she was waking up everyone,” said Chris Francisco.
But for some reason Rodriguez wasn’t able to make it out of the house herself.
Firefighters found her unconscious inside. They rushed her and her family to the hospital but she never woke up.
“It’s very sad. It’s very heartbreaking because we’re just like family. In fact we just spent Christmas last week. Spent Christmas Eve together and this is what happened now,” said Evelyn Omega.
Arson investigators were called to the scene to help determine the cause of the fire.
They know that the fire started somewhere in the front of the home. There was one smoke detector found inside the building but it’s not clear if it was working.
Firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to nearby homes but the home is a total loss.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)