PORT HUENEME, Calif. - An early Friday morning apartment fire in Port Hueneme claimed the lives of a father and son, according to fire officials on scene.
The Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office identified the victims late Friday afternoon as 24 year old Mario Rangel and his 5 year old son Diego Rangel.
It happened just after 4 a.m. in a rear apartment in the area of 2nd and B Streets. The apartment building has eight units, one of which was fully engulfed, and is where fire officials say they found the two bodies.
A mother and daughter were able to escape the flames, but told fire officials the father and son were still inside. Neighbors said the Mario Rangel was trying to rescue his young son when they were both consumed by the flames. Firefighters found their bodies after putting out the fire.
"Once we got out it got super hot because the flames we already coming out of the house, and we just hear the lady screaming her husband's name and that he was still inside with the other kid," said Carlos Milan who lives in the apartment below the unit that was on fire.
The other roughly 30 people who lived at the apartment complex were evacuated safely.
"We just heard the windows shatter, and so I was like what's happening so I got up and I looked through the window because we have a window on the left side, and I looked and it was flames and red and orange, and I was like oh what's happening," said Milan.
"I actually thought it was the neighbors my parents checked and they said oh it is a fire let's go, and I just got my stuff and we went outside," added Milan. Milan suffered minor burns to his face after him and his father tried using a fire extinguisher on the flames.
Neighbors said no one heard any fire alarms in the apartment complex go off.
The smoke and flames were so heavy that one of the first responders suffered smoke inhalation and had to be taken to the hospital. The fire was put out within twenty minutes.
The American Red Cross has set up a temporary shelter at Oxnard College for all the residents displaced due to the fire. There, they will receive food, blankets, and mental health and health services.
It's not clear how long residents will be at the shelter or whether fire officials will red-tag the entire apartment complex.
Two fire investigators are working to determine what started this fatal fire.