The Anatomy of a Fire

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LA PALOMA – A fire can be deadly in three different ways, especially in smaller spaces like trailer home, according to Cameron County fire investigators.

County Fire Chief Deputy Juan Ramos told CHANNEL 5 NEWS the flames, carbon monoxide and the smoke can all be deadly on their own.

While it's clear flames ripped through a trailer home in La Paloma early Sunday, county fire investigators are still trying to determine how two children, ages 9 and 11, died.

The fire left the community in the colonia in disbelief.

"They had such a sad death, my God," Nicole Carreon said as she wept. "I was crying and asking God to save those children. I was yelling and pleading with Him like crazy."

Ramos said there's a possibility the children died in their sleep.

"Carbon monoxide is a product of the gases that are produced (from) the combustion," he explained. "They start accumulating, you start breathing them and basically what it does, it puts you in a deeper sleep."

Ramos said the fatal effects of carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation work even faster in trailer homes.

"The smaller the room, the faster the accumulation,” he said.

The flames, he added, are even more destructive because these homes heat-up faster and are often made up of light materials that are added during patch work.

That's why when neighbors, like Carreon, noticed the home engulfed in flames, there was little they could do.

"One tends to think, well, we'll be able to get out fast," she said, "But like in this case, at night, how were they going to be able to escape if they were asleep? And maybe in a deep sleep, how were they going to know?"

The autopsies for the children will be performed Tuesday.

Their 25-year-old brother suffered serious burns and remains hospitalized in a San Antonio burn unit.

The children's father is hospitalized in Harlingen.


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