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California father, 3 children killed after Christmas tree sparks electrical fire

"This tragedy underscores how quickly a fire can spread," City of Hemet Fire Chief Scott Brown said.

A father and three of his children were killed earlier this week when a fire linked to a Christmas tree ravaged a Hemet, California, apartment complex.

The fire, which killed Juan Moreno, 41, Maria Moreno, 12, Isaac Moreno, 8, and Janessa Moreno, 4, broke out at approximately 1 a.m. on Friday on the second story of the apartment complex where the family lived, according the NBC San Diego and the Los Angeles Times.

Officials determined the cause of the blaze was a Christmas tree sparking an electrical fire, NBC San Diego reports.

"This tragedy underscores how quickly a fire can spread, smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan," City of Hemet Fire Chief Scott Brown said. "Smoke alarms provide that critical early warning so you can get out quickly and are an important part of a home fire escape plan."

Juan Moreno died after re-entering the apartment in an attempt to rescue his family, NBC San Diego reported.

Isaac Moreno was initially taken to UCI Medical Center for his injuries but later died, a family member to NBC San Diego.

A GoFundMe, which NBC News was not immediately able to verify, had raised more than $32,000 for the family as of Sunday.

"My heart just hurts for them. They’re good kids," Keikei Thomas, the godmother of the Moreno children, told NBC Los Angeles.

A vigil and fundraiser for the Moreno family was scheduled for New Year's Eve, NBC San Diego reported.

About 40 people were forced from their homes due to the fire, according to NBC Los Angeles.

Hemet Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for information made by NBC News.