Family, friends and neighbors placed flowers, teddy bears and handwritten notes at the fence of a home on Wagon Bend Trail as a makeshift memorial to the two lives lost.
Earlier Tuesday, two small children died in a house fire. Fire crews say the boys were 5 and 7 years old. Calls came in just after 3 a.m. for a house fire along Wagon Bend Trail, just south of East Stassney at Interstate-35. When crews arrived, they immediately conducted an aggressive search for the young victims, but were unable to save them.
“We were aware, from bystanders, that there were possibly victims in the house. We began an aggressive primary search while knocking down the fire,” Austin Fire Department Battalion Chief Thayer Smith said.
Officials say a truck caught fire due to an electrical malfunction and the fire then spread into the garage, which was converted into a bedroom where the two boys were found.
“We did make some resuscitation efforts however, it was determined that they were not viable and they’ve been pronounced deceased at the scene,” Austin Travis County EMS spokesperson Johnnie Hall said.
The 2001 Ford 1-50 where the fire started has been recalled numerous times for fire-related problems.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon a spokesperson from Ford Motor Company said:
“We offer our deepest sympathies on this tragic loss of life. Without additional information about the F-150 or the opportunity to conduct a further investigation into this particular incident, we could not speculate about the root cause, including whether the previous recall or the vehicle played a role."
The news devastated neighbors who were used to seeing the kids every day.
“Everybody around here knows everyone, so everybody’s praying for them and hoping that the family is okay,” neighbor Maria Rodriguez said. "When I come walking around with my mom, they’re not there anymore."
Investigators estimate damages at $140,000.
There were a total of seven people inside the house at the time of the incident. Five made it out safely.