Deadly San Carlos Fire Brings Awareness to Community

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SAN CARLOS – The condition of a young child injured in a house fire has improved. The fire claimed the lives of his mother and two brothers.

The Hidalgo County Fire Marshal’s Office says the fire happened Saturday morning near Sharp Road and Petirrojo Street in San Carlos.

A 6-year old, Pablo Rafael, was flown to San Antonio on Saturday. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Hidalgo County Fire Marshal investigator John Franz said the mother performed an act of heroism.

"We know that she got up and investigated what the cause of the fire was. We looked at her body placement and what direction she was moving. She wasn't moving towards an exit. She was moving towards her kids,” said Franz.

Investigators said the mother tried to save her boys and there were no smoke detectors in the home.

Franz said his office is taking steps to prevent a fire like this from happening again.

A set of flowers sits on the burned ground. The Gomez’s memory lives on in this community in San Carlos.

"I feel sad, overall, three kids and the lady,” said neighbor Hilario Garcia.

The charred wood will never hold up a home again. The burnt toys and superhero shirts lay on the smoking ground as memories of a family.

Investigators said the mother, Lucia Gomez, died trying to save her 7-year-old son Ricardo and 3-year-old son Daniel Alberto. They never made it out.

Her 6-year-old son Pablo Rafael was transported to San Antonio. He's now in stable condition.

"She was from Veracruz. There is a saying one knows where are you born, but not where are you going to die. That is a sad reality,” said Garcia.

Hilario Garcia lives down the street. His emotions go beyond being a neighbor. He said he lived with the Gomez family for a couple of months as he saved up to buy his own property.

"When I first lived with them, it feels horrible, and during these days, this is how it feels, one would want to be with the family, but we can't do anything, those are things that happen, what can you do? We rented this property, and in order for us to put connect water and energy, they let us live there for two months and that is why we got to know them well,” said Garcia.

This is a case Franz said he never wants to investigate.

"It’s a story of real tragedy but there's also some heroism here. We came out and it's tough because you see a mom, a civilian, a non-fire-fighter, non-first responder who is working and doing everything she could to save her kids there in that back room. She never made it,” said Franz.

Franz explained they will try to help the community to prepare for the unexpected.

"This could serve as a wakeup call for them. So we're here to help them out, we're here to talk to them; we're here to help them get fire safe. We're here to point them in the right direction to what precautionary measures to take,” said Franz.

Garcia's home does not have smoke detectors. He welcomes the advice from the county.

"I hope for them to do it because of a lot of times. They just talk and don't do anything. I hope for them to do that,” said Garcia.

Garcia explained he'll focus on getting a more structured home and prays for the family he knew and the son who made it out alive.

Franz said they are expected to determine the cause of the fire later this week.

He added there are grants and assistance available for people who need help getting smoke detectors for their homes.

If you need assistance or know someone who needs help call their office at 956-318-2656.

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