A father and two children died Monday in house fire in Hesperia.
Authorities said the early morning house fire left a young sister of the boys hospitalized in critical condition.
County Fire Captain Josh Sprague said firefighters arrived at the flaming house in Hesperia at about 1 a.m. Monday with the father and two boys still inside. He said a 9-year-old boy and his 34-year-old father died at the scene and a 4-year-old boy later died at a hospital.
Sprague said a 10-year-old girl, who along with her mother had escaped the house through a bedroom window before firefighters arrived, was in critical condition at a hospital.
There was no immediate word on the mother's condition.
"What can we say," said next-door neighbor Ricardo Ramirez, who says he knew the family like his own, "God has them up there and that's all we can do."
Family identified the victims as Gabriel Pineda, Sr., 34, Gabriel, Jr., 9 and Christian, 4. Firefighters broke the news to Ramirez and his family.
"They came and knocked on our door and said there had been a terrible accident."
"We were up all night on it," Capt. Sprague said, "The loss of life on an incident like this is not something that happens every day so this is huge."
Sprague says it's common these days to see house fires because of forclosures or vacant properties used for shelter. But he says when a home is occupied, it's not common to have fatalities for one main reason: smoke detectors. It is unclear if this home had any; Sprague says there has been no evidence found of any working smoke detectors.
Lupe Pineda, mother of the children, was able to rescue her 10-year-old daughter Stephanie but a Sheriff's deputy on the scene said the girl was very badly burned.
Family and friends now mourn the loss of the two boys and their father, hoping to set up a charitable fund to help defray funeral costs.
"God has all three of them up there," said Ramirez, "All we gotta do is wait for God to take us and we'll all be reunited up there."