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Two children dead, father released from hospital after Rusk Co. house fire

The fire happened on State Highway 42 S.

RUSK COUNTY — Two young children died after a house fire Wednesday in Rusk County.

The fire happened on State Highway 42 S.

According to the Rusk County OEM, the children were two and four years old.

The mother of the children confirmed the children were two-year-old Matthew Wayne Stanley and four-year-old RaeLynn Faith Stanley.

Their father, according to social media, is Dakota Pepper.

According to the Rusk County Sheriff's Office, the home was still on fire when the first units arrived on the scene. The father was outside the home when the fire started. The sheriff's office says he tried to go in himself to rescue the children but was unable to find them.

"Every second was crucial. Only thing I wanted to do was get in and get in quickly," says Rusk County Deputy Jason Wooley.

"The main thought was to try to get to the kids," says Deputy Blake Wallace. "The trailer house was filling with smoke pretty quick, and the longer they stayed in there, the less likely we would've been able to find them."

One of the deputies who went inside the home reported the flames melted his glasses onto his face. Despite their attempts, the deputies were unable to locate the children inside the home. Once they arrived, firefighters entered the home to look for the two children inside.

It took a total of two trips inside the house to find the children, who were found sheltering underneath a bed.

""Seeing those babies get brought out was very difficult and it's something that I still see, and I'm sure I'll see for quite some time," says Deputy Wallace.

The children were immediately transported to Henderson Hospital. They were pronounced dead shortly after arrival. Their father was treated and later released.

"I'm very sorry for their loss," says Wallace. "I couldn't imagine what it's like losing a child, especially two children, and I wish the outcome could have been different."

The state fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.

This story will be updated as we learn more information.

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