Family member couldn't rescue woman killed in house fire

Arson investigators have determined a house fire in SE Houston to be accidental
November 13, 2013 10:57:24 AM PST
High winds fanned flames of a raging house fire in southeast Houston. The devastating fire claimed the life of a 32-year-old woman.

It's a devastating day for the family of Guadalupe Galvan, who wasn't able to escape the burning home in the 5300 block of Clay Street. Firefighters found her body in a back bedroom of her home.

"My brother says he and an officer went to the back to try and break the window. A bunch of black smoke came out," said Maria Valle, the victim's sister.

Galvan's parents were able to get out with the help of their grandson, who was also inside when the fire started at about 11:40pm Tuesday. Family members were overcome with tears as they arrived to the charred home. They say they are lucky they were able to find photos still intact in this home where nearly everything was destroyed.

"She was a very happy person, just like you see in the pictures. We are going miss her," Valle said.

According to fire investigators, by the time they arrived to house the flames had taken over the home. They say the weather conditions made the fire challenging to put out.

"Our biggest thing is today is not only a cold day, but a windy day. Wind-driven fires are very difficult," said Captain Ruy Lozano with the Houston Fire Department. "It caused for a very rapid fire to extend into the roof, causing a rapid extension throughout the residential structure."

A close family friend we spoke with next door says they too are extremely saddened by the loss, and recalled growing up together with Galvan.

"Like another sister next door -- a neighbor, we were always playing together so we had her here at the house. (She was a) sweet girl," Melissa Cisneros.

Guadalupe's sister says she was the youngest child of eight and lived at the home with her parents.

Investigators did rule the fire as accidental but no other details were released.

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