Angela Bridges was at a grandson’s college commencement in Detroit when she found out about the fire in Mesa that killed her daughter and her little son.
The celebratory event quickly turned into a “nightmare,” she said.
Now, Angela said she must console her 14-year-old granddaughter, who was at school when the fire erupted, coming home to discover her home was burned and her family members were gone.
Jazmin Bridges died in the fire along with her son.
READ MORE: 2 people found dead in apartment fire
The Arizona Department of Economic Security confirmed that Jazmin was a department employee. Tasya C. Peterson, DES director of communications, released a statement on behalf of the state agency on Friday.
“On behalf of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, we send our sincere condolences to the family of Jazmin Bridges,” Peterson said in the statement. “We are truly saddened by her loss. Her kindness, beautiful smile and infectious laugh will be missed tremendously. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this difficult time.”
The Mesa Fire and Medical Department was called to the apartment, in the 500 block of South Country Club Drive, about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, on a report of smoke in a residence, police said.
Firefighters found a smoldering fire that had nearly been extinguished inside an apartment’s bedroom, police said.
Firefighters also found Bridges and a small boy who were pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
A GoFundMe page was created on Thursday to help Bridges’ family with funeral expenses. As of Friday evening, the page had raised $1,115, with a goal of $5,000.
The page was created by Nikki Martinez, who said Bridges’ mother was a close family friend and that all proceeds from the page would go toward helping her with funeral and other expenses.
“There’s been a pretty big response,” Martinez said. “She’s helped a lot of people. She’s got a huge heart and has always been there. She’s done so much for so many people even when she doesn’t really have it to help. So we wanted to be able to do something for her.”
Angela said she’s “so humbled and so grateful” for the outpouring of support she’s gotten in the past few days.
“I feel very humbled and blessed that my daughter lived her life in such a way that people think of her and think of me and my family at this very difficult time,” Angela said.
Angela described her grandson, who also died in the fire, as a “sweet little boy.”
Jazmin’s co-workers came to visit earlier this week, Angela said.
“They said she had the patience of Job in dealing with clients and she never complained,” Angela said. “She did her work and did it with a smile.
“It’s a somber moment in the office now because she’s gone. It’s not the same light. The light is gone and you can tell that her presence isn’t there.”
Angela says she plans to adopt her 14-year-old granddaughter, whom she said is “devastated” over the loss of her mother.
Angela said the family plans to seek counseling to cope with the tragedy, and that her faith and the need to be strong for others have kept her going.
“(It’s) having faith and being strong for my granddaughter,” Angela said. “She no longer has her mother, and I have to be there for her.”
Mesa police said the cause of the fire remained under investigation.
Republic reporter Eric Newman contributed to this article.
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