A blaze in a Texas home killed five children and their mother, according to Hardin County Sheriff Mark Davis who spoke to KDFM.
The children were aged 3 to 11, with one set of twins. The children’s mother, Ashley Pickering, 31, also died in the fire.
The children were: Camden, 3, twins Cash and Cavence, 4, Serenity, 7, and Cristian, 11. The twins were due to celebrate their fifth birthday next week.
The fire was first reported just past midnight on Wednesday in a small apartment behind a home. The children’s grandparents live in the main house, CBS reported.
— Texas Breaking News (@texasnewsblog) October 18, 2017
By the time the first responders arrived, the house was engulfed in flames and the structure destroyed. When the flames were out, firefighter made the grim discovery inside.
The case is under investigation, but no foul play is suspected. All of the victims will undergo autopsies.
“This is a horrific scene, very somber, very sad,” Sheriff Davis told KFDM News. “Your heart goes out to the family, the immediate family and the extended family. It’s tough on everyone, including the first responders. It tears your heart out. It’s the worst type of incident for any firefighter or first responder to face, to find victims inside.”
— WDBJ7 (@WDBJ7) October 18, 2017
The neighbor who called 911 spotted flames coming from the home and ran to wake up the grandparents, but was too late to rescue the mom and her five children in the apartment, which was completely engulfed, the sheriff said.
The mother’s Facebook page featured words about her children.
“Cristian, Serenity, Cavence, Cash, and Camden are my life,” Pickering wrote. “Anything else is irrelevant.”
— 12NewsNow (@12NewsNow) October 18, 2017
Two of the children attended school in the local Independent School District, which issued a statement.
“Silsbee ISD is deeply saddened to learn the news of a family in Silsbee that lost their lives in a house fire. News of this nature is not easy by any means, especially in our close-knit community. We offer prayers to those close to the family and our first responders as they cope with this devastating tragedy. We have learned two children lost in this fire were students at Silsbee ISD, and our staff will be offering support to the campuses as needed. Silsbee ISD will ensure that our students and staff will be comforted during this difficult time.”