An 8-year-old girl from Pomona was rescued by firefighters this week after a Christmas tree caught fire, thereby trapping her in the bathroom of her family’s apartment.

The fire broke out at the two-story apartment building, located at 1614 E. Kingsley Street, about 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Los Angeles County firefighters responded to the fire and, while en route, were notified there was a person trapped inside.

“I made several attempts to reach my daughter, I was yelling for her but the fire was raging and I was unable to reach my baby girl,” Nelly Contreras, the girl’s mother, said on a GoFundMe page created to help the family. “All of sudden the electricity went out in our building and my daughter’s screams for me stopped! I honestly lost all hope that I lost my baby girl!” 

First responders sprung into action and quickly rescued the young girl.

“We were able to use a hose line to knock back some of this intense flames, while simultaneously additional firefighters were able to crawl on their hands and knees and do a search of the apartment,” said Sean Ferguson, public information officer for L.A. County Fire. “It was during this search that they located one, young female who was trapped and hiding inside her bathtub.”

The girl was airlifted to Children’s Hospital Orange County. She suffered from smoke inhalation and was placed on a ventilator, Contreras said.

Investigators believe the Christmas tree in the family’s living room was the cause of the fire.

The girl and her mother were reunited with the help of first responders Sunday morning in Montclair, where they are staying with relatives.

“To see her smiling and looking alive, it’s amazing,” said Max Dymond, one of the first responders who helped in the girl’s rescue.

Fire officials urged caution with Christmas trees saying extension cords should be switched out and should not be damaged or frayed, trees need to be well-hydrated and unplugged at night and there should always be at least 3-feet-away from any significant heat source including candles, space heaters or floor vents.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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