FRESNO, Calif. (TCD) -- A 29-year-old was taken into custody for allegedly starting a fire that killing his niece and nephew, who were both infants.
In a press joint press conference, the Fresno Fire and Police Departments said they received a call about a structure at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 2. Firefighters put out the blaze and discovered the two children deceased inside. Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis said it was the first day on the job for the two firefighters who found the children’s bodies.
During their investigation, police learned the children’s 32-year-old mother was inside the house when the fire broke out. Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama told reporters the mother was "engulfed in flames" and ran across the street to help put the fire out. She reportedly had to "roll around on the ground" to extinguish the flames on her body.
Balderrama says the mother is currently being treated at a local hospital and "isn’t doing very well."
On Wednesday, May 4, Fresno Police announced they arrested Filimon "Robert" Hurtado on two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and multiple arson-related crimes. The children were identified as 18-month-old Cataleya Hurtado and 5-month-old Calyx Hurtado.
Hurtado reportedly "made admissions to setting the house on fire because he wanted to kill everyone in the home." Police wrote in the statement he did not have a "reasonable explanation as to why he committed this heinous act."
Hurtado is also in the hospital recovering from "substantial burns" and will be booked into the Fresno County Jail upon his release.
According to KFSN-TV, Hurtado allegedly used gasoline to start the fire. He lived in the house with his brother, sister-in-law, and their two kids. Hurtado’s brother was reportedly at work when Hurtado allegedly ignited the home.