2 children die, father injured in So. Cal. apartment fire

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — A 6-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother were killed and their father was critically injured Thursday in an early morning apartment fire in Southern California, authorities said.

San Bernardino Fire Department crews responded around 3 a.m. after a neighbor walking a dog spotted smoke spewing from the upstairs unit in the two-story duplex, Battalion Chief Michael Bilheimer said.

The flames were knocked down in about 10 minutes.

The children were found unconscious huddled together behind a couch, Bilheimer said. The two were rushed to a hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

The father, who was found on the floor in the same room as the children, was hospitalized in critical condition with severe burns and smoke injuries.

The children’s pregnant mother was taken to a hospital before the fire and was expected to give birth, Bilheimer said.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation. The upstairs unit of the building was significantly damaged.

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