Woman, 2 children dead after fire rips through apartment in West Covina

Amy Powell Image
Monday, March 6, 2023
Woman, 2 children killed in West Covina apartment fire
Three people, a woman and two children, died in an apartment fire in West Covina overnight, authorities said.

WEST COVINA, Calif. (KABC) -- Three people, a woman and two children, died in an apartment fire in West Covina overnight, authorities said.

The fire broke out just before 1 a.m. Sunday at the apartment complex along Amar Road, according to the West Covina Fire Department. When firefighters arrived, they encountered large flames ripping through multiple windows of the building.

The blaze was eventually extinguished. Details about the identities and relationship of the three victims have not been officially released by authorities, but a family friend of the victims contacted ABC7, saying the woman who died was babysitting her grandchildren while the parents went on a date.

Residents of the complex said they're simply heartbroken by the tragedy.

"We park close to their apartment so we would see, it was a young family, a young couple who had two young children, a toddler and an infant, probably under a year old, so we would see them," said one resident who did not wish to disclose her name.

"All I saw was the flames, they live right in front of me ... it was just a really big fire right in front of us," said another resident.

Later in the night, several people gathered in a courtyard for a prayer vigil, standing near a memorial full of flowers, candles and toys.

"It was sad seeing how short life is because we did seem them, the kids, had their toys outside every day and they were playing," said a resident named Art.

He told ABC7 his son tried to help firefighters during the fire.

"My son over there he was running around, breaking all the glass for the fire extinguishers, giving them to me and the officers," he said. "There was actually an officer that was next to me that had tears coming down his eyes while he was trying to put it out."

Another neighbor described the harrowing scene when the children's parents returned to the scene.

"What broke my heart was at that time the parents got home," said Cinthya Ontiveros. "So around that time, that's when the mom and dad got home. I don't know if they were working but just hearing her screams and her cry ... there's no words."

One unit sustained severe damage in the fire, while other nearby units had some smoke damage.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe has been created for the family.