A father rushed into a burning Southern California apartment on Friday and died trying to rescue two of his children, who also perished in the early morning blaze, authorities said.
Flames erupted at around 1:15 a.m. at an apartment complex in the Riverside County town of Hemet, about 85 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, officials said.
As emergency responders rushed into the second-floor unit, news footage captured a woman screaming, "My family!"
“One of the victims, a 41-year-old male was the father, and he went back inside to rescue other family members that were not able to get out, and he wasn’t seen alive after that, unfortunately," Hemet police Lt. Nate Miller told reporters
The father died in the fire, along with his daughters, 4 and 12. An 8-year-old boy was rescued from the burning apartment and was listed in grave condition, officials said.
"It's a terrible situation," Miller said. "As a father myself, I think a lot of us would think about going back in."
The young victims' mother and two other children, ages 6 years old and 3 months, made it out of the apartment safely. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.