Two women and a teenage girl escaped from a burning two-story California home into the early morning darkness Saturday as flames and smoke engulfed both stories.
Then one of the women, Feda Almaliti, realized her 15-year-old son, Muhammed, who had autism, was still inside, according to a release from the Fremont Fire Department.
She dashed back inside the burning home to look for him. Neither emerged.
Firefighters in Fremont, a San Francisco Bay Area community, arrived a few minutes later and found Feda and Muhammed Almaliti together in a second-floor bedroom, the release says.
“She was embracing Muhammed,” said friend Sarah Trautman, KTVU reported.
Both had life-threatening injuries and were pronounced dead at a local hospital, firefighters say.
“This is a tragic and heartbreaking incident,” Fire Chief Curtis Jacobson said in the release. “Feda Almaliti courageously risked her life to save her son’s. Her actions were selfless and valiant.”