A 77-year-old man was able to jump to safety after a fire tore through his Los Angeles home early Thursday, but his wife and adult son were killed in the blaze, according to fire officials.
Firefighters responded to the fire at a two-story home in the 4200 block of West 62nd Street around 1:40 a.m. The home was approximately 3,500 square feet, said Capt. Dan Curry of the Los Angeles Fire Department, and was “well-involved with fire.”
“Made a very challenging firefight for us,” Curry said. "... Ultimately we were able to battle our way into the house, extinguish the fire.”
But once inside, Curry said, firefighters discovered the body of a woman upstairs. Her age was not known. Ten minutes after knocking down the fire, firefighters discovered the body of a 48-year-old man in a downstairs bedroom.
Authorities said the older man was able to escape by climbing to a first-story roof and jumping. The man had smoke inhalation issues, but is expected to survive, Curry said.
Relative Shawn Williams rushed to the scene Thursday morning. He identified the victims as his great-aunt and his cousin, calling them a “very tight-knit family.” The family has lived in the home between five and 10 years, Williams said.
“Just really, really loving, both of them,” Williams said. “Very loving mother and son. ... I am in total shock and disbelief right now.”
The home is located in Hyde Park, according to the Los Angeles Times’ neighborhood map of Los Angeles County. The fire occurred in the View Park area, Curry said.
John Huddle, who lives a block away, said he never met the family but would see them out decorating for Christmas. He had heard “they were a great family,” he said.
Whenever Huddle and his son would drive by the house, his son would call it the “spaceship house,” he said, because it was round.
“There’s a skeleton left of this house and it’s like an iconic house in the neighborhood,” Huddle said. “Everyone knows the round house.”
Seventy-eight firefighters knocked down the fire in 49 minutes. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
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