Devastated friends searched for answers amid the rubble and debris. The three trapped inside the burning mobile home were all hearing impaired. Two of them never made it out alive.
Twenty-one-year-old Ruby Valencia and a female friend were overcome by the smoke and flames. Their bodies were found in a back bedroom.
Valencia's husband Alex was the sole survivor. He suffered moderate burns to his feet and legs.
The blaze broke out just before 5:30 Sunday morning in the Sky Trails Mobile Home Park in Moreno Valley.
Desperate to save their deaf neighbors, residents used garden hoses to try to put out the flames, but it was of little use.
"Just a big ball of fire. I mean, on these things they go up quick, too quick. But you know, it's a tragedy to wake up to," Rick Hall, a neighbor, said.
"Ruby, her name says it all, she was a gem. We met her a few years ago. She would come and play with the kids and help watch our children, and they were very warm and hospitable," Jeannine Deloye, a victim's friend, said.
Investigators don't know if there was a smoke detector in the home, but they do know a single candle is to blame for the fatal fire.
"It was started by a candle, the sad part about that is they were using the candle for warmth, left it unattended through the night and whatever it ignited, spread and caused it, so a very preventable tragedy here," Capt. Julie Hutchinson, of the Riverside County Fire Department, said.
The fire department says it's unfortunate that this fatal fire has to serve as a reminder of just how dangerous unattended candles can be.