Children Rescued, 24 People Forced From Home in El Monte Fire

Children were carried from the burning home after a fire that started in a carport

More than 20 people have been displaced and a woman injured after a fire gutted two homes and a garage in El Monte early Wednesday.

The fire happened in the 3900 block of Arden Drive at 3:09 a.m., Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

When firefighters arrived, two structures were engulfed as fire spread from a non-functioning vehicle in the carport to the adjacent structures.

Resident Kevin Chaparro was one of those affected, and helped his son, nephews and nieces escape the flames.

"It was scary. At first I actually tried to turn off the fire with the hose, but within seconds I knew that wasn't working," Chaparro said, "I took all the kids out and they were actually screaming. They didn't know what was going on."

The fires were finally extinguished at 3:48 a.m., with one woman being taken to a hospital for treatment to burns, which she sustained as she tried to shield children from the flames as they evacuated.

In total, 24 people were displaced, including children as young as two or three-years-old. The Red Cross is being notified, and will provide aid to the displaced.

The house had a second home to the rear, while the garage had been converted to a living space. According to the LACFD, they had the proper permits for their living arrangements.

Arson investigators are investigating to determine the cause of the fire.

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