A 41-year-old woman, Wendy Harris, died and two children were taken to a Dallas hospital with injuries after an early-morning fire today in Van Zandt county.
Fire departments and law enforcement were dispatched to 316 Van Zandt County Road 1129, Fruitvale, at around 12:30 a.m. today on a report of a structure fire with a woman trapped. They found a single wide mobile home fully involved with fire.
It was learned that five people -- one adult and four children -- were staying the night in the mobile home. The occupants were awakened by the smell of smoke in the house. Three of the children were asleep in the living room of the mobile home. Those three children managed to get out of the house.
A 16-year-old boy ran around the house and attempted to gain access to his mother and sister who were asleep in the master bedroom. He broke out the window and pulled his 14-year-old sister out of the burning house, but was unable to get to his mother. The 14-year-old girl suffered burns to both arms and hands, along with smoke inhalation and was transported to Parkland Hospital in Dallas. She is currently in the Intensive Care Unit of the Burn Center, and is expected to make a full recovery, officials say.
Donna Taylor points to a charred photo depicting the Harris family. Wendy Harris, 41, center, was killed in a Tuesday morning house fire in Fruitvale. Her husband, Brute, back, died on Sept. 11, 2012 of a heart attack. Hunter, 16, right, saved his sister Presley, 14, left, and other family members from the fire, but he could not reach his mother. Presley remained hospitalized at Parkland in Dallas Tuesday with burns to her body from the fire.
The brother suffered injuries to his hands from breaking out the window and was treated at Parkland Hospital and released.
The mother, located in the master bedroom, was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Don Kirkpatrick.
The other two children, ages 20 and 18, did not receive any injuries.
A fireman was transported to Cozby Germany Hospital with minor injuries as a result of traumatic injury, suffered on the fire scene, and was treated and released. The names of all the victims have not been released at this time, pending notification of family.
The cause of the fire is going to be a space heater in which the proper precautions were not taken to not store anything around the space heater, while it is functioning. The space heater was left unattended in a bedroom in which no one was staying in. Fruitvale and Grand Saline Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the incident.
According to a press statement, "There is no doubt that the 16-year-old male saved the life of his sister. He tried feverishly to get to his mother, but could not gain access to her due to the heat and smoke."