Deputy constable: I wish I could have saved house fire victims

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Fighting back tears, deputy constable recalls trying to save family from burning home

Investigators are still looking into what started a fire that killed a mother and a daughter and injured three others early Saturday morning in Spring.

Today, the deputy constable who first arrived on the scene told Eyewitness News he's never seen such a tragedy.

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As he recalled, Deputy Constable David Santee received word of the house fire around 2 a.m.

When he arrived, Santee saw a house fully engulfed in flames. According to the information he received, a family of five was trapped inside.

"The smoke cleared just enough that I could see a pair of legs that looked like they were a toddler's legs," Santee remembered through tears. "At that point, I cleared the rest of the window that was still in the frame and I jumped in."

Santee grabbed a three-year-old out of the home and handed the child to another deputy who had arrived.

Then, they heard noises from inside the home.

"The fire actually made it into the room and that's when we could hear moaning. So we knew somebody else was inside," Santee said.

It was the mother and her 5-year-old daughter crying for help. Even firefighters couldn't reach the helpless family members.

"He did everything he could to locate the person, but he couldn't locate it in the room," Santee recalled. "After the fire was put out is when we found out the mother and 5-year-old didn't make it."

The father had managed to get out, carrying his 2-year-old son. He is now in the hospital with serious burns over 40 percent of his body.

"The second child was maybe two feet away and I couldn't see them. The mother was maybe two or three feet from the second child," Santee said. "To the small child that I don't want to say his name, I wish I could have saved his sister and mom. To the father, I wish I could have done better, saved your other child and wife."

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