Mother dies after Sylmar fire that claimed husband, 2 children

The woman whose two children and husband were killed in a structure fire Monday in Sylmar has also died, officials said.

All four were found unresponsive by firefighters who responded to the blaze, which was reported about 4:37 a.m. in the 13700 block of Eldridge Avenue.

The 41-year-old father -- identified by family and friends as Uriel Estrada -- was found just a few feet from the front door, and his children and wife were huddled nearby, Los Angeles fire Capt. Jaime Moore said.

Family members at the scene identified the mother as Maria Alicia Estrada, and the children as Isabel, 12, and Alex, 8.

Laura Campo said the father of her 4-year-old child is a renter in the house and tried to get to the family as the fire raged through the second floor of the barn.

"He tried to break down the door and windows to help rescue the children," Campo said. "But he said he didn't have enough strength."

Moore said firefighters had to kick down the wooden front door, which also had a security door that was not locked. Firefighters who went inside reported smoke down to their waist, he added.

The fire appeared to have broken out at the top of the barn, but did not spread to an attached work shed.

The two-story “metal-clad, barn-like” building was permitted for residential use, but lacked smoke detectors, Moore said. Investigators are looking into whether any illegal work had been performed over the years.

It is one of two structures on the 2-acre parcel and sits behind a long single-story home. Both buildings are rented out, Moore said.

A cousin of the mother, 52-year-old Norma Cruz, said the close-knit family had recently moved into the barn building and were excited to be living in a relatively safe area.

Mariah Hernandez, 20, a cousin of the children, said she was having a hard time grappling with the sudden tragedy.

"It’s hard to think they’re not with us now,” she said. “It’s almost as if they moved away together.”


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