Los Angeles

Firefighter Climbs Through Window to Rescue Children Trapped in Burning House

The home was secured with metal bars on the front windows and door, forcing firefighters to break in through the rear of the building

Four children rescued from a fire Monday night at a house in South Los Angeles were hospitalized in critical condition.

Firefighters encountered a wall of flames in front of the home in the 800 block of West Manchester Avenue. Three boys and one girl, ages 2 to 7, were trapped in the burning home, which had security bars on the windows and steel screen doors, according to firefighters. 

"As first-arriving LAFD crews sprinted toward the home with hoselines and ladders, bystanders shouted that several people remained trapped inside the freely burning residence, which was almost entirely secured," said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Firefighters circled to the rear of the building and forced open a window, which was not equipped with security bars. One firefighter climbed through the window and climbed inside to rescue the children. 

"Handing the badly injured and nearly lifeless siblings from zero visibility conditions within to waiting colleagues outside, the firefighter was himself able to escape unharmed before the room spiraled to a temperature that would have assuredly taken the children's lives," Humphrey said.

The children's mother was running an errand at the time of the fire, firefighters said. She returned as paramedics were treating her children at the scene. 

It took 90 firefighters 16 minutes to extinguish the fire, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The nearly century-old home had at least one smoke alarm, but it was not immediately clear whether it was working. 

The cause of the fire was under investigation. 

"It's a very heroic rescue considering water had not been placed on the fire," said LAFD Capt. Daniel Curry.

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