WINONA (KYTX) - Investigators are still looking into what caused a house fire that claimed the lives of three young children Sunday morning, as family members mourn the loss of loved ones.
At around 3:00 Sunday morning, a Winona home went up in flames with two adults and eight children inside.
Family members who live next door broke into the burning house, trying to save those inside. They were able to pull some out, but they couldn't save them all.
"It's hard. I miss them already," said Zack Watson, trying to hold himself together as he deals with the overwhelming loss of two nephews and a close family friend.
"They were really the only nephews I had close here," he cries.
Charred rubble is all that's left of Heather and Brian Dear's home. When it caught fire, the couple was inside with their six kids and two other children who are friends of the family.
"We started trying to get them out," said Heather's father, Ricky Watson. He says he pulled 8-year-old Colton Dear out of the burning home, but he couldn't get his other grandsons out.
"We never could get back in there," he said with tears in his eyes.
9-year-old Colby Watson, 6-year-old Riley Hickman and 4-year-old Jax Davidson were killed.
"I love them so much," Zack said.
Colby was the oldest of the Dear's boys.
"Colby, he wanted to play basketball with me all the time," Zack said. "I feel bad because I never did. He was smart, he had good grades in school."
Riley was Colby's younger brother.
"Riley, he was my best friend," Zack said. "We used to go hunt caterpillars together all the time."
Ricky cries as he says, "We had a special handshake."
Jax Davidson wasn't a blood relative, but Ricky says he was like family.
"He was a good little boy. He was going to be a ball player one day."
The Watsons' pain is unimaginable, but they wouldn't be making in through without their community.
"Its miserable," Zack said. "It's hard to deal with this, but I thank the [First Baptist Church], thank the Winona community."
Colby and Riley were in third and first grade at Winona Elementary School. The district had extra counselors the school Monday to help the children cope with the loss of their classmates.
"We anticipate having to help some of our staff through this too," Winona ISD Superintendent Denise Shetter said. She says the district is trying to help these families deal with this in any way they can.
Heather and Brian's 8-year-old son Colton was rescued from the burning home Sunday, but is still at a Shreveport hospital in a burn unit. Heather is still in the ICU at ETMC in Tyler, with carbon monoxide poisoning.
To pick up the pieces, the Dears are looking to their community. The family's church pastor says Brian is getting some help from coworkers to get a new house. Clothing and monetary donations are already pouring in from this community to help this family in deep need.
There is a fund set up for the family at the First Baptist Church of Winona, and the First National Bank of Winona.
Community members have already donated lots of clothes so the best way to help is with monetary donations.