Grandparents and granddaughter killed in SJ apt. fire

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Family members say four-year-old Kyra Chavez was sleeping in the same bedroom as her grandmother Mariana Pulido-Maldanado and her grandfather Bulmoro Maldonado. They did not escape the blaze.

Cecilia Maldonado says the last time she saw her daughter was Saturday night at bed time. Just after 11 p.m., she noticed a fire in her brother's room. Before fire crews arrived, she says she tried to battle the flames by herself, "I just knew that my brother's room was on fire and I ran out and tried with the fire extinguisher, broke the glass, I just couldn't put it out."

She and her brother Angel, along with about six other family members, got out of the apartment. But her parents and 4-year-old daughter Kyra did not.

Maria and Felix Bracamontes live in the apartment just below. They had three of their grandchildren over for the weekend and heard a commotion as the fire started. Their grandson, Rodrigo Vargas, went outside to see what was happening upstairs.

"When I went outside, I just saw the fire, so I told them to come out really fast," Rodrigo said.

Everyone in their apartment got out okay, though they rushed out taking only a few items to keep warm. Maria says she quickly grabbed a sweater before running out into the cold evening.

The Bracamontes were allowed to return to their apartment Sunday to retrieve some medications and a few clothes, but they'll likely be staying at a local hotel for a few days.

Neighbors say fire teams arrived very quickly got a quick hold on the blaze, and specifically mentioned the fast work of a San Jose police officer who tried to save people inside the burning apartment.

They say he arrived on scene quickly, yelled at neighbors to keep a safe distance from the burning complex, and then tried to enter the burning apartment.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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