Man, grandson killed in Pasadena fire

April 1, 2011 3:35:05 PM PDT
Pasadena authorities say a 12-year-old boy and his grandfather were killed in a fourplex fire after the grandfather's rescue attempt failed.

The landlord boarded the building late Thursday to keep it secure. While the remaining residents were settling elsewhere, they remember the grandfather who gave his life trying to save his grandson.

There was not much left inside the small apartment when fire investigators were able to start searching for a cause. When they first arrived at the fourplex on Texas and Witter just before 3pm Thursday, the fire was intense.

"It was coming out through all the windows, the back, everything," witness Josie Trevino said.

It wasn't likely anyone could have survived.

"That's sad because I knew that man," Maria Olalde said.

Olalde is heartbroken. She lives upstairs from the fire victims. Neighbors say the man, who's been identified as Jose Trevino, was able to escape but then went back inside for his 12-year-old grandson, Nathaniel Reyes. Firefighters found them both in a downstairs bathroom.

"The door was open and it appears they were looking for an escape route and they got trapped," Pasadena Fire Marshal David Brannon said.

The man's widow was called to the scene but, distraught, she stayed away from any cameras. Fire investigators literally have to dig through what's left to find how the fire started.

Olalde likely lost everything, but it's not her focus.

"That comes and goes," she said.

And while Raul Rodriguez is anxious to get back inside his apartment, he is also respectful of what was lost there.

"That's nothing compared to what happened inside there," he said.

Another resident tells us his smoke and carbon monoxide detectors were working well recently.

Some other neighbors questioned the fire department's response time, but we learned the first responders had arrived at the fourplex within two minutes.

The Pasadena Fire Marshal's Office says the fire, which started in the kitchen, had been burning for a while before a neighbor flagged down a passing patrol officer. So far, the fire appears to be accidental, but the investigation is ongoing.

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