Two young children die in Waco fire

Monday, June 18, 2012 - 3:06pm

Two Waco children were killed early Saturday morning in a large house fire.

It happened around 2:10 a.m. Saturday, on the 1900 block of Cleveland Street.

The deceased have tentatively been identified as 11-month-old Rayah Hernandez and 4-year-old Eliana Gonzales. Confirmation from the medical examiner's office is pending.

Waco police tell KWKT that 21-year-old Victoria Valenzuela was in the house with four children at the time of the fire. The children, who were living with Victoria, inside were her 4-month-old son, 6-year-old nephew and her nieces, Rayah and Eliana.

Valenzuela was able get out of the house with her son and nephew, but could not save her nieces because of the intense flames.  Rayah and Eliana, Victoria’s nieces died in the fire. 

Victoria, her son, Javier Valenzuela, and her nephew, Joe Gonzales IV were taken to a local hospital to be treated for injuries received in the fire. Victoria and her son were later flown to a Dallas Hospital . Their conditions are unknown. Joe Gonzales IV was treated and released.

Justice of the Peace Villarreal responded to the scene where he pronounced the two victims deceased and ordered their bodies sent to Dallas for autopsy.

Waco fire marshals believe cause of the fire is accidental and started due to an electrical short in the front bedroom where the two children died.  As is routine in these types of cases, an accelerant detecting K-9 and handler were called to assist Fire Marshals. The K-9 did not alert to any type of accelerant use in the fire. Fire officials have not discovered any smoke detectors in the home.

Three firefighters injured while fighting the fire were treated for minor injuries and have returned to work.

The case investigation by the Waco Police Department is on-going as they are waiting on results from the autopsy. At this point there is no indication of foul play involved.


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