Texas house fire: 3 children, grandmother die after trying to keep warm during power outage, mother survives
The mother, Jackie Pham Nguyen, was with the children and their granny, as the family hunkered down just like many families in Texas after power and water outages plagued the state
SUGAR LAND, TEXAS: Three children and their grandmother have died in a fire in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, Texas, in the wee hours of Monday, February 22. The mother of the children survived but was heartbroken by the death of her mother and her children. The children, 11-year-old Olivia, eight-year-old Edison and five-year-old Colette, affectionately nicknamed Coco by her family, were victims along with their maternal grandmother, Loan Le, according to CNN.
The mother, Jackie Pham Nguyen, was with the children and Loan as the family hunkered down for the night on Sunday, February 21, just like the many families in Texas after power and water outages plagued the state following the worst snowstorm of the year. The report said the family had called it a night around 9.30 pm.
Nguyen said she tucked her kids in bed for the night and the next thing she remembers is waking up in the hospital. "A few hours later the fireman and the police officer came and said that no one else made it," she told CNN.
She also recalled yelling for her kids. "I was just standing there screaming and screaming and screaming their names hoping they would come out of their rooms and basically jump over so that we could get out," she said. "I just remember feeling like it was so dark and I can still kind of hear everything crackling around me."
Talking about the unfortunate incident, Doug Adolph, a spokesperson for the city of Sugar Land said Nguyen "had to be physically restrained from running back into the house."
"The family had posted on social media that they were attempting to stay warm by using a fireplace inside the home," Adolph told CNN. He also explained the cause of the fire was not yet determined. Chances were they would never find out.
"We can't say for sure that was the cause of the fire. We just don't know yet," he explained. "It's possible that the investigation may never identify an exact cause." According to him, the neighborhood was out of power for at least eight hours.
Nguyen suffered burns on her hands. Talking about the incident, "My heart is broken," she said. "I'm never gonna be the same." She added: "I'm in this crisis tactical mode now and I'm just really focused on all this final arrangements because this is the last sort of thing I'm going to do for my kids."
Talking about her kids, Nguyen called them phenomenal. "My kids were such phenomenal, amazing, little badass humans," she said. "Colette is just a little firecracker and she has so much charisma. She also, as a five-year-old, had that level of confidence. She was never afraid, totally unapologetic, not intimidated."
"Coco loved to dance and make TikTok videos. She loved Taylor Swift and Shawn Mendes and wanted to be the head cheerleader and class president. She was more like a teenager than a soon-to-be six-year-old," the mother said. "Obviously I mourn losing them," Nguyen told CNN. "But I feel like it's honestly a tragic loss for the world that these kids don't get to like live up to their potential and contribute to society in the way that they could have."
A GoFundMe page has already seen more than $275,000 pouring in.