Three killed in in Fort Bend County house fire

The fire broke out earlier today on Johnson Road in Orchard. Three children made it out of the home. Three adults remain unaccounted for. (Orchard fire)
July 11, 2013 7:59:21 PM PDT
A house fire in Fort Bend County left a woman with an unbelievable choice: saving three children or saving her bedridden mother and aunt.

The fire erupted early Thursday afternoon in the town of Orchard, located west of Richmond. It's a rural area where getting water to the flames was an issue.

Authorities have now discovered the bodies of all three victims amongst the rubble of that fire, and a prayer vigil was held here at the church they loved.

"To lose a major portion of your family in one day is an unbelievable thing," Pastor Robert Simpson said.

At the Pilgrim Journey Baptist Church in Richmond Thursday night, they were grieving for three members of their church. The pastor here says one was the head deacon's wife.

"These are the times that the church and the people of God are tested," Simpson said.

"It stings. It's like something burns you and your speechless," said Dorothy Kirk, a relative of the victims.

Family and friends believed they women were killed in a house fire Thursday morning on Johnson near Long Lane. Strong winds and absence of fire hydrants in this rural area made battling the blaze a challenge. Fire crews from several agencies had to truck in water.

Friends say there were six people inside the house initially -- three kids aged five to 17 and the two elderly women who were both wheelchair bound. The church pastor says their caregiver got the kids out first.

"She actually went back in to help her mother and her aunt get out and that is when she never came back out as well," Simpson said.

It's a house that has been at the center of tragedy before. According to our records, this was the home of 12-year-old Tekitria Buggs, a little girl who was murdered in 2005. Buggs' body found nearby in the Brazos River. Her step father pleaded guilty and is in prison.

Family and friends say this latest tragedy makes no more sense than that murder.

The mother of the children was at work when the fire occurred. Investigators have not yet been able to determine what caused the blaze.

While the official continue the investigation, neighbor Gloria Long says she's devastated.

"I lost my best friend. We talked everyday, we'd take our children to vacation Bible school together, we go to the library on Wednesdays with our kids together. Her son and my daughter were in Pre-K together, we were best friends," Long said. "I'm going to miss her a lot. But I know she was a Christian, and God doesn't make any mistakes, and it's just going to be hard for me to get up everyday and not be able to call Joyce and talk to her."

Fire departments from Sugar Land, Fulshear, Richmond, Rosenberg and others had to help.

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