HAWKINS, Texas (KETK) – A Thanksgiving Day fire claimed the lives of two East Texas parents with their four children just barely escaping the flames.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the children and can be found HERE.
“She was so young. You never think that someone that young would ever die from a fire or any kind of tragedy like this, being older then her I always thought I would go before her,” said Amiyla Minor, victims sister.
Dallas, the oldest child, woke up and smelled smoke. When he realized that there was a fire, he tore through the bathroom wall to rescue his three younger sisters to safety.
“That’s my nephew Dallas, and he’s my hero because he went to no ends to get siblings out of that house,” said Minor.
Courtney Cline, 30, and her longtime partner Ben Mendez, 34, were killed in the blaze in the 1100 block of CR 3859, north of Hawkins.
“She would drop everything at a drop of a hat to come help you if you needed it. She loved her kids, even if they weren’t her kids, she just loved kids period,” said Minor.
According to Wood County Fire Marshall Tully Davidson, the fire appears to be accidental.
“They lost everything, not only did they lose their parents but they lost every possession that they have,” said Minor.
Cline and Mendez’s bodies have been sent to Tyler for autopsy.
Services will be held for Ben and Courtney at Crowley Funeral Home in Gladewater on Friday, December 6. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. with services following. There will be a graveside service at Gladewater Memorial Gardens on HWY 80 between Gladewater and Big Sandy.
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