Girl Rescued After Lying in Bath During Christmas Tree Fire, Mother 'Lost All Hope'

A mother in California has described the ordeal she suffered after being unable to free her daughter who was trapped as a fire broke out at her home.

Nelly Contreras' 8-year-old daughter had to be rescued from the bathroom, where she was taking shelter as the blaze tore through the apartment in Pomona on December 15.

Los Angeles County firefighters responded to a fire that broke out at a home at 1614 E. Kingsley Street. When they arrived at the scene, they were informed there was a young girl still inside the apartment.

The fire was soon extinguished after around 15 minutes and the child was rescued from the bathtub she was lying in, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Ron Haralson said.

The girl was taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation injuries, The Press-Enterprise reported.

It was later revealed that the fire was due to a Christmas tree igniting.

Writing on the GoFundMe page she set up in the wake of the fire just ahead of Christmas, Contreras described how she "lost all hope" and feared that her child would die in the blaze.

"I made [several] attempts to try to reach my daughter, I was yelling for her but the fire was raging and I was unable to reach my baby girl," Contreras wrote. "All of a sudden the electricity went out in our building and my daughter's screams for me stopped!

"I honestly lost all hope that I lost my baby girl! I was living every parent's nightmare, trying to save your child and unable to do so! I was completely devastated."

Contreras said she is hoping to raise money on the fundraising page for her family as they "lost everything" in the fire.

"We barely got this new apartment and it was completely destroyed, my children and I have nothing but the clothes on our backs! We are asking for help to rebuild our home and have a little Christmas.

"This accident was traumatic but I'm a grateful to God for protecting my daughter! My house was completely destroyed except the bathroom where my daughter was at."

So far, the GoFundMe page has managed to raise more than $6,500 in donations.

"Through a co-ordinated we were able to use a hose line to knock back some of those intense flames, while simultaneously additional firefighters were able to crawl on their hands and knees and do a search of the apartment," Sean Ferguson, public information officer for L.A. County Fire, said while describing how they saved the girl.

"It was during this search that they located one young female who was trapped and hiding inside her bathtub."

Ferguson also gave a number of tips to avoid such accidents in the home over the Christmas period.

"It appears this fire was the result of a Christmas Tree. In light of this, I would like to remind you of three important safety tips," Anderson added.

"One: make sure your Christmas tree is always well watered.

"Two: always follow manufacturers' instructions when using strong lights and never use extension cords that are damaged or frayed.

"Three: make sure your Christmas tree is at least three feet away from any sort of significant heat source."

tree fire
(File photo) A Menlo Park fire department cadet monitors a Christmas tree that is on fire during a holiday safety live fire demonstration in Menlo Park, California, on December 9, 2010. An 8-year-old girl was rescued by firefighters after a Christmas tree caught fire in California. Justin Sullivan/Getty