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Investigation Continues Into Fire That Killed 2 Young Sisters in Pompano Beach

BSO officials said the girls' mother, 23-year-old Jocelyn Melendez, left her daughters in the care of her 15-year-old sister

Neighbors and investigators are still searching for answers following the deaths of two young girls in Pompano Beach over the weekend after a fire swept through their home.

Broward Sheriff's Office officials say 5-month-old Abigail Espinoza and 5-year-old Sofia Melendez were killed in Saturday's fire at the Banyan Club Apartments at 1830 Northeast 48th Street.

Loved ones gathered Monday night to pray and say their last goodbyes in a vigil at the apartment complex.

"They were adorable," said neighbor Steven Fortuna. "As everybody else I cried. You can’t do anything but cry. I can’t explain it. It’s a future loss. It’s a doctor, a teacher. We lost the future."

Neighbors also held a vigil Sunday night for the girls, whose bodies were found in their apartment after firefighters extinguished the early morning fire.

"Too hard, too sad," neighbor Leticia Lopez told NBC 6.

BSO officials said the girls' mother, 23-year-old Jocelyn Melendez, left her daughters and 2-year-old son in the care of her 15-year-old sister while she went to work. The teen left the girls alone, but had the 2-year-old with her.

Numerous residents who were at home when the fire broke out Saturday morning say the smoke alarms didn’t go off until it was too late. Neighbors also said another woman lived in the apartment with her child but they were not home.

Detectives have not released a cause of the fire but said it remains under investigation.

The property management company, CMC Management said they are in charge of the fire alarms and electrical connections. They say they passed a fire inspection in June, but that has not been verified by NBC 6. The company says they are releasing a statement later Monday.

The mother of the girls will see a judge Tuesday about custody of her 2-year-old son.

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