Woman, 4 kids die in mobile home fire

January 13, 2008 7:16:11 PM PST
Fire destroyed a mobile home where two families had been living for two weeks, killing a woman and four children, authorities said Sunday. Three adults, an infant and two children under age 4 escaped the Saturday morning blaze, said Eloy Vega, a spokesman for the Laredo Fire Department.

Griselda Ruiz, three of her children and one other child died in the fire, said Webb County Medical Examiner Corinne Stern. The children were between the ages of 2 and 6.

The fire appeared to have started near the middle of the mobile home, which is also where the door was, neighbors said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, authorities said.

The bodies of Ruiz, 26, and her children were recovered from a bedroom near the back of the home. The other child's body was found in another bedroom in the front of the home, according to Stern and witness accounts.

The victims' bodies were badly burned, but they likely died from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning, Stern said.

Flames and screaming awoke neighbors, who tried to help those still trapped inside the burning home. But the heat of the fire kept them at bay.

"I got to the fence (around the lot containing the burning home), and just then, the window on the south side blew out," said Daniel Colina, who lives directly across the street. "You couldn't do anything to save those people."

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