A space heater is thought to have sparked the fire that killed a Van Zandt County woman and hospitalized one of her teenage children with burns.
The fire started around 12:35 a.m. Tuesday in the 300 block of County Road 1129 in the Fruitvale Community. First responders arrived to a single-wide mobile home fully engulfed in flames.
The family awoke to the smell of smoke in the house, according to Van Zandt County Fire Marshal Chuck Allen. Three of the children were sleeping in the living room and escaped unharmed. Allen said a 16-year-old boy ran through the house to find his mother and sister in the master bedroom. The teen broke the window and pulled his 14-year-old sister to safety.
Suffering burns to both arms and hands, the 14-year-old girl is in the Intensive Care Unit at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Allen said the girl is expected to make a full recovery.
The 16-year-old brother was treated for injuries to his hands from breaking the window. "There is no doubt that the 16-year-old male saved the life of his sister," Allen said. "He tried feverishly to get to his mother, but could not gain access to her due to the heat and smoke."
Fire officials said the 41-year-old woman, whose name has not been released pending notification of family, was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Don Kirkpatrick. The woman's body was transported to Southwest Institute of Forensic Science in Dallas for an autopsy.
Family members said that the father passed away just three months ago from a heart problem.
A firefighter was treated and released from a hospital for minor injuries during the rescue.
Allen said fire was started by belongings left too close to an unattended space heater in an unoccupied bedroom.
Fruitvale and Grand Saline Volunteer Fire Departments, along with the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office and Van Zandt County Constable Precinct One Mickey Henson responded to the blaze.
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