FORT WORTH -- The song “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me played softly as a small group of people gathered outside a burned-out shell of a home in the 2600 block of Market Avenue in Fort Worth Friday night.
Most were holding candles, but some also brought stuffed animals. They were all there to remember 37-year-old Elvea Arriola and her 6-year-old daughter Gabby, who died in an early morning house fire.
Most people can't imagine losing two family members in one horrible moment. They can't envision what words they would say to comfort themselves or their family. So, it was understandable that Gloria Dehoyos struggled to find the right thoughts and the right words to mourn her sister and niece.
“Just watch over and take care of them, as we have to take care of Abby that made it,” she said. “God, thank you for leaving her,” Dehoyos continued before her voice began to trail off. “I don’t know what else to say.”
Her friends tried to help fill in the blanks with prayer and with songs. Dehoyos is Elvea Arriola's older sister.
Elvea and her twin daughters Gabby and Abby were staying at the home with two other people when a fire broke out just after 2 a.m. Friday morning.
Gloria said her baby sister had been taking care of her for months. She has cancer.
“She was there for my therapy. She was my support for my chemo these last weeks,” she said.
The fire that killed Elvea and her daughter damaged not one, but two homes. A man and a woman also staying in the home managed to escape the fire along with her other daughter, Abby.
Gloria said she must be strong for her nephews ages 14, 18, and 19, and also for Gabby's surviving twin.
“I've always been there for them. We're all close," Dehoyos said. "We're a close family."
Friday night, they leaned on each other, but Dehoyos said she's lost more than just family.
“She was my sister. She was my best friend. She was my closest friend,” she said.
Now, she can only imagine what the future will be like without two dear loved ones in it.
A fund has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses and provide for Elvea’s other children at this link.
Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire.