Friends of Yessenia Garces and her family held a vigil in Allapattah Friday night after a fire took the lives of her children, nephew and mother in Texas. NBC 6 reporter Gilma Avalos has the story. A friend of the family, Yadira Garibay, is interviewed.
Friends of Yessenia Garces and her family held a vigil in Allapattah Friday night after a fire took the lives of her children, nephew and mother in Texas.
On Thursday night, Garces – a Miami mother who moved to Dallas – came home from work to see her house in Texas up in flames.
“I wanna know what happened to my babies, I wanna know what happened to my mom,” she said then.
Her 5-year-old son Gene, 3-year-old daughter Jayleen and 2-month-old nephew Junior perished in the fire, as did her 53-year-old mother Maritza.
Garces’ pain was shared as far away as Miami, at an Allapattah park where friends that went to Jackson High School with her lit candles for the lives lost much too soon.
“No parent should ever, ever bury their child, especially a child that has not even started living,” said Yadira Garibay, Garces’ best friend.
Garces moved to Dallas a few years ago.
"The last time I saw him I changed him and I left,” said Roberto Perrera, the father of Garces’ oldest child, Gene.
Perrera could barely get the words out, regretting the lost time he'll never get back with his son.
"I loved my son,” he said. “I've never been there for him, but it doesn't make me a worse man for not being there for my son. I still love him."
Investigators said they believe the fire started downstairs in the living room, setting the live Christmas tree nearby on fire. Officials said it was likely the fire had been burning for some time.
"With the occupants already being deceased basically upon our arrival, that there is a prime opportunity that yes, the fire could have been burning for some time before we were notified,” said Chief Joel Thompson of Haltom City Fire/Rescue.
Friends are collecting donations for Garces, to make sure she will not have to carry a great financial burden as well.
"It’s hard enough to bury one person and it's expensive. Imagine four bodies. We need help, so whatever you guys could give us,” Garibay said, crying.
If you would like to help the family, you can call Yadira Garibay at 786-859-8130.