Donna Trujillo was preparing Christmas goody bags early Wednesday morning for children at her son's preschool when she realized she needed more candy. After a trip to Walgreens, Trujillo returned home with the candy. But the bags would never be finished.
A predawn blaze gutted her four-bedroom Stanton house shortly before 2 a.m. in the 10900 block of Beach Boulevard, forcing the Trujillo family of seven to scramble to escape while their possessions were turned to ash.
"I noticed the lights began to flicker, but I thought a fuse was going to go out because of all the Christmas lights in the neighborhood," said Trujillo, 33, tears smearing her mascara. "We lost everything."
After returning from the drugstore, Trujillo said, she was stuffing candy into the bags when the house went dark. She yelled for her husband, then smelled smoke coming from her bedroom and spotted a fiery "glow." She banged on bedroom doors and screamed to wake up the children.
When firefighters arrived, the Trujillos and their five children, ages 3 to 18, were huddling outside the one-story stucco home, which was engulfed in flames.
Fire officials said the blaze started in a bedroom and appeared to have been caused by an electrical appliance. A heater and a DVD player were among the items in the area where the fire started.
Trujillo and four of her children were taken to a hospital with mild injuries and released hours later. Her husband, Albert, remained hospitalized at Western Medical Center-Anaheim. Authorities wouldn't describe his injuries or condition.
It took 20 firefighters about 50 minutes to battle the blaze. Damage was estimated at $250,000.
Presents aside, the spirit of Christmas remained apparent. A neighbor gave the family a $100 bill. Others rushed to get shoes and clothing for the children. The family also had assistance from the American Red Cross.
As Donna Trujillo shielded her eyes from the sun to look at what was left of her home, she reflected on her loss but remained thankful.
"We're all together," she said, hugging 13-year-old son Mikal.