Family killed in house fire in NE Harris Co.

July 20, 2012 3:46:03 AM PDT
Tragedy strikes as flames devoured a family's home, claiming the lives of all three family members inside.

It was a family of three who lived in the home. The fire is said to have started in the back, and near the back door is where firefighters found the bodies of the mother and her daughter, both killed in the fire.

"I saw the smoke getting bigger and bigger and I heard glass breaking," recalled Darrius Chandler, a neighbor who tried to help rescue the family.

Neighbors did everything they could to help a Houston family escape a fire. But for a mother and her young daughter it was already too late. Fire investigators believe the heavy smoke led to their deaths. Firefighters found them near the back door of their home.

"We went inside the house to try to see if we could get to the upstairs, but we couldn't because the fire was right in front of the stairs, so we couldn't get up there," Chandler said.

The seven-year-old girl has been identified by a family friend as Alessandra Martinez, and her mother is Liliana Perales, we're told. Both of them were killed in the fire. The husband and father, identified as Javier Martinez, was able to get out of the house and was rushed to a hospital with severe burns.

Family friend Oscar Morales said, "My girlfriend said that the doctors told her that it was 90 percent of his body was burned."

But hours later he lost his battle to survive.

Morales says he worked with Javier and knows the family well. He said they just moved in about two weeks ago.

"Liliana was actually afraid of fire," Morales said. "For this to have happened to her, it's just kind of odd."

Lt. Dean Hensley with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office says the fire appears to have started in the kitchen and they are working on pinpointing the exact cause.

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