Neighbors tried to save children inside burning Winona home

Neighbors tried to save children inside burning Winona home

WINONA (KYTX) - Neighbors are distraught after three young children are killed and three people are injured in a Winona house fire.

The fire happened at about 2:00 Sunday morning in the 200 block of Kay street in Winona. 10 people were in the home when it went up in flames.

"It was horrible," Rebeka Yepez said. She lives next door to the Dear family, whose home now lays in ruins. Early Sunday morning, she woke up to sirens.

"I was asleep and my mom came knocking on my door and so I got up and we all went outside," she said.

She saw flames shooting high into the air, but once she got outside, there was only one thing on her mind.

"As soon as I saw the kids I just sort of ran to them," she said.

Smith County Justice of the Peace Mitch Shamburger confirms two adults, Heather and Brian Dear, were in their home with eight children.

He says four of the kids are part of the Dear family, but is not sure whether the other four children are related..

Neighbors say before the fire department even got to the scene, neighbors from down the street came into this house and pulled some of the children out. By the time the fire department got here, three were already dead.

Shamburger confirms the three children killed in the fire are 9-year-old Colby Watson, 6-year-old Riley Hickman, and 4-year-old Jax Davidson.

"They're so sweet and so funny and they love to run," Yepez said.

She says she's helped take care of the children before and is still shaken from the things she saw.

"I saw their mom and their dad laying over there," she said.

Shamburger says Heather Dear has been released from a Tyler hospital, and Brian Dear is expected to be released soon from a Shreveport hospital.

Their son, 8-year-old Colton Dear is still at a burn unit at LSU hospital in Shreveport. He may also be released by Sunday night.

Investigators suspect a lit candle in the home may have started the fire, but it is still under investigation.

An autopsy has been ordered for the three children killed.

Many of the children in the house go to Winona Elementary School. Staff members from the school tell CBS 19 there will be counselors available at the school Monday.


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