HALTOM CITY -- Three children and one adult died after they were overcome by smoke in a one-alarm house fire Thursday afternoon in the 4900 block of Colonial Park.
Investigators believe the fire was accidental, starting in the living room near a live Christmas tree, according to Assistant Fire Chief Joel Thompson, Haltom City Fire Department.
All four victims were found on the second floor of the home, and received intensive CPR at the scene before they were taken to area hospitals, where they were pronounced dead.
"[It was a] very difficult call," said Matt Zavadsky with MedStar. "Firefighters had a daunting task to get these people out of the house. MedStar had a daunting task to transport multiple patients."
The deceased were identified as Maritza Garces, 53; Jaime Moran, 2 months old; Jayleen Rayos, 3 and Gene Rayos, 5.
"There are no words to describe what they family is going through," Thompson said. "Every step was taken that could be taken to save those lives."
The assistant chief said a program is available to help any firefighters troubled by the incident.
"When I saw them take them out, I was devastated," said Phillip Heard, a neighbor.
Heard was one of the first to call 911 around 5 p.m. Thursday. He saw heavy black smoke shooting out of a window.
"I ran over to the curb," Heard said. "I yelled at the house asking, 'Is there anybody in there? Your house is on fire!' and no response."
Yessenia Garces, mother of Jayleen and Gene and aunt to Jaime, said she cannot afford a funeral for four. Her mother also died in the blaze.
"I have four funerals," she said, voice shaking with emotion. "All I need is some help."
A medical assistant for a Texas Health pediatric clinic, Garces said her last memory was saying goodbye to her family and promising to be home soon.
"When I left yesterday morning, I didn't expect to come home to this," she said.
A fund has been set up at Wells Fargo to help pay for the funerals. Anyone can walk in and ask to donate to the Garces Memorial Fund, should they wish to donate.