DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – One day after a tragic fire that killed two children, Dallas Fire Rescue went door to door at the Casa Flores apartments, performing inspections and making sure residents had working smoke detectors.
A makeshift memorial now lays outside the second floor apartment where a deadly fire erupted Sunday.
A mother escaped the burning apartment with her 5 month old infant in her arms, but her 5-year-old and 3-year-old children remained trapped inside for several minutes until firefighters arrived.
Neighbors attempted to put out the fire with several fire extinguishers, to no avail.
“We tried to kick in the door and it wouldn’t open,” said Franklin Pratt, a neighbor. “We couldn’t get it open to save the other two kids.”
The victims were identified as Nathaniel Jimenez, 5, and his sister, Natalie Martinez, 3.
The 5-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. The 3-year-old died as a result of her injuries at Parkland Hospital.
The children were often seen playing outside at the playground.
“Everybody’s been sad,” said Erica Lopez, a neighbor who knew the family. “They just can’t believe it.”
The mother suffered burns on 40% of her body, according to Pastor Mike Wells, of Parkside Baptist Church in Mesquite, where the family attended services weekly.
“Natalie and Nathaniel were a joy to have on the bus and in class; they were always smiling and enjoyed participating in all the activities. Their happy faces and sweet spirits will be sorely missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Jimenez family as we continue to pray for the recovery of Ericka and her other child who was injured,” Wells said.
The church has set up the “Nathaniel and Natalie Jimenez Memorial Fund” to help pay for the funeral costs.
Donators are asked to notate in the comment section that the donation is for that particular fund.
Donations are also being accepted via snail mail at:
“Nathaniel & Natalie Jimenez Memorial Fund”
c/o Parkside Baptist Church
1729 Gross Road
Mesquite, TX 75149
Dallas Fire Rescue said the cause of the fire undetermined.
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