Rudy Bowie was crushed when she heard the news that her daughter and toddler granddaughter perished in an early morning blaze at their Inglewood condo.
Massive flames lit up the early morning sky as the two-alarm fire broke out in the 630 block of West Queen Street around 2:30 a.m, firefighters said. Even though it could take weeks for the coroner's office to officially identify the charred remains, family and friends said they were Bowie's daughter, Angel Reed, and her daughter, Angelina.
"My granddaughter ... she was only 3 years old," Rudy Bowie said. "She didn't make it to see her 4th birthday."
The fire started in one unit on the first floor and spread to the second in the two-story building. It took 55 firefighters to douse the flames. One of them suffered minor injuries during the battle.
"It was like something out of a movie," said Nicole Brown, a witness. "I've never seen anything like it."
Lawrence Bowie, the victim's grandfather, was barely able to speak as he told reporters he first saw the fire on early morning TV news reports.
"I knew it was my daughter," Lawrence Bowie said. "Knew it was my daughter and grandchild."
Cheryl Kesse, who lived across the street, tried to help by bringing a water hose from her home. She said a man was in a state of shock as his wife and child were still in the building.
"He said his wife and his child were in there, and he just kept crying," Kessee said.
She also said he fell to the floor in grief when told the fire had turned fatal.
"Oh God, words can't describe (how sad the moment was). It just brought tears to my eyes," Kessee added.
Top news of the day
Still looking stunned, Reed's mother said this is one of the worst days of her life. She said firefighters described a heartbreaking scene inside.
"She had her in her arms, protecting her daughter," said Rudy Bowie.
About 15 people were displaced due to the fire, and the Red Cross was on the scene to provide aid. They have been allowed to return to their homes.
A cause was not immediately determined.