Boy, 12, dies in house fire (Video)

Feb. 23, 2013 at 10:02 a.m.
Updated Feb. 23, 2013 at 8:24 p.m.

Neighbors Sue Galvan, left, and Brooke Licerio embrace each other while looking at the burned house. The fire occurred on East Guadalupe Street in Victoria.

Neighbors Sue Galvan, left, and Brooke Licerio embrace each other while looking at the burned house. The fire occurred on East Guadalupe Street in Victoria.

Saturday was supposed to be a special day.

Tommi Turrubiartes woke up early to take her three young daughters to Houston. It was a girls' trip - they were shopping for a quinceanera dress for Chelsea Castellanos, 14.

Orlando Salvador Navarro, 12, the only boy, decided to stay at home with his stepfather, Salvador Ochoa, but still managed to wake up at 7 a.m. to tell his mom goodbye.

He planned to watch movies and play outside Saturday morning.

"He was very loving. I was leaving, and he said, 'Bye, Mom. I love you.' And then he went back to bed. And that was it," Turrubiartes said, staring in shock at the charred remains of her home and remembering the last time she saw her son alive.

Ochoa escaped the blaze reported at 8:46 a.m., but Orlando never came out of the house.

"He (Ochoa) was asleep. He said he couldn't get into the room where Orlando was at, so he ran to the outside and broke the windows. But when he broke the windows, the flames came out, and he couldn't get in. He was screaming and screaming at him but - " Turrubiartes stopped, unable to finish her sentence.

Ochoa was treated at the scene of the fire for smoke inhalation and wounds to his arm after breaking the glass window.

Victoria police and fire departments responded to the fire in the 1600 block of East Guadalupe Street, both arriving within minutes of the call, said Assistant Fire Chief Tracy Fox.

Sgt. Adam Nieto with the Victoria Police Department said when police arrived on scene they found neighbors attempting to enter the house to rescue the child, but the fire was too aggressive.

Neighbor Donnie Hale went in through the front door three times but couldn't find anyone.

"I was asleep, and my girlfriend woke me up saying, 'The kids' house is on fire, the kids' house is on fire!' I rushed over there, and I ran in three times, but I couldn't see anything. ... The house went up in just seconds," Hale said, coughing from smoke inhalation and struggling against tears. Hale was also treated at the scene.

Fox said the house was fully involved when firefighters arrived, destroying about 75 percent of the home.

"It was heavy fire conditions, very extreme fire conditions they went into. They made entry and attempted a rescue," Fox said of the firefighters on scene.

Fox said firefighters found a body in the bedroom.

Hale, who bolted into the burning home barefoot and shirtless, then ran next door to Sue Galvan's house when he noticed the fire had spread to her roof.

Galvan and her granddaughter, Brooke Licerio, fled their home in their pajamas while neighbors grabbed water hoses to battle the second fire.

"I opened up my door, and I could just see orange everywhere. . The flames were in our house, melted the back window. It is so vivid - I will never forget the smell and the visual, just all of it. It is never going to go away," Licerio said, standing in a pair of purple socks a neighbor donated.

When fire crews arrived on scene, Fox said the fire on Galvan's roof was quickly extinguished, her home suffering minor damages.

After the fire was out, Justice of the Peace Stuart Posey held the inquest and pronounced the boy dead at the scene at 8:55 a.m. but said he could not positively identify the body. He ordered an autopsy be performed by the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office in Austin to determine the cause of death and to confirm the identity using dental records.

The Texas State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the fire, Fox said, and the cause is unknown.

The American Red Cross is also providing a temporary hotel room and basic necessities for the family, said O.C. Garza, spokesman for the city.

Chelsea said her brother, a seventh-grader at Patti Welder Magnet Middle School, was excited about going to the Victoria Livestock Show Carnival later in the week.

"His favorite ride was the Starship, but this year he was going to get on the Zipper and the Drop Zone for the first time. He was finally going to be tall enough," she said, wrapped in a sheet to ward off the breeze because the family lost everything - including most of their pictures of Orlando - in the fire.

Orlando wanted to be a cop when he grew up, Chelsea said.



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