WINONA, Texas (KETK) – Smith County fire officials have confirmed a mother and three children are dead after a house fire in Winona Monday morning. There is also one survivor that was able to get out of the home.
The tragedy comes just eight days after the Winona community was stunned by the murder of a beloved pastor.
“We ask for prayers for their family at this time, the first responders. Any fatality is tough, but when you’re dealing with children, it’s absolutely devastating.”JAY BROOKS, SMITH COUNTY FIRE MARSHAL
An off duty White Oak firefighter first spotted the heavy black smoke when driving on highway 271. He then called 911, where an EMS truck was the first to arrive on the scene.
Around 11:30 a.m., several fire departments were called to a house in the 18000 block of Highway 271 after a neighbor called to say a house was on fire.
One other person did try to help the mother and her children escape but was unable. The good Samaritan was then taken to a local hospital with multiple burn injuries.
At least Winona, Red Springs and Jackson Heights all responded to the scene. Smith County Constable Josh Joplin said when his crews arrived on scene, the entire house was on fire.
There is no word on the extent of the damage to the house.
“Make sure your smoke detectors are working. It’s a cheap device that can save your life. Close the doors to your room when you’re sleeping. You’d be surprised at the level of safety that can provide,” said Brooks while giving updates at the scene Monday afternoon.
Ryan Wright, a man who lives nearby, shared that he hasn’t seen anything like this. “It’s very tragic, especially being a mother and three kids deceased, it’s very tragic,” said Wright.
Later Monday afternoon, KETK learned through Wright that the power was out in this community due to Sunday’s severe weather. He added that as soon as it was restored, he noticed the black smoke.
The identities of the people killed have not been released at this time, but Brooks did confirm they were small children.
NOTE: This was first reported as a church fire, but we have since confirmed that this was a house fire.
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