CONROE, Texas – Three children were found dead Friday after a fire broke out in a Montgomery County home, authorities said.
The tragedy has left the small community of Tamina torn.
Montgomery County fire marshals said the bodies of 13-year-old Terrance “TJ” Mitchell, 6-year-old Kaila Mitchell and 5-year-old Kyle Mitchell were found in the back of the home after it was destroyed.
“It really hurts because they were such a wonderful family,” said family friend Mary Pierson. “They were here when I came here and I’ve been here like 50 some years.”
Police were called just after 4 a.m. at a two-story home in the 19000 block of Johnson Road where a family of eight live, officials said.
Firefighters received reports that people were trapped in the house, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jimmy Williams said.
When emergency crews arrived, the second floor of the home was engulfed in flames, officials said.
“It’s very emotional for everybody in the community because we’ve been here all our lives,” said family friend Edwina Miller.
Officials said the children’s grandfather, Bobby Johnson, 61, broke out a second floor window and got most of the family out, but was unable to get to the three children who were trapped in their bedroom on the other side of the house.
Officials said the children’s brother, 10-year-old Adrian Mitchell suffered burns and was taken to a hospital. He is listed in critical condition.
The children’s uncle, Jarvis Johnson, 34, Bobby Johnson, suffered burns to their faces and torsos. They were taken to hospitals with life-threatening injuries, and were both listed in critical condition.
The grandmother, 57-year-old Carrie Johnson suffered minor cuts and was taken to Memorial Hermann in The Woodlands.
The children’s mother and Carrie Johnson were treated and released.
Adrian Mitchell, Jarvis Johnson and Bobby Johnson remained hospitalized.
“I just looked out my bedroom window and it just looked like the whole world was on fire,” said family friend Janis Pierson Henderson. “This family is a loving, kind family. They need prayer. They need support right now.”
The children’s father was out of state for work and was not home at the time of the fire, Williams said.
Shanacy Miller was one of TJ’s best friends.
“I don’t know how he died at an early age. He’s only 13. I know that everybody’s going to miss him, especially me,” said Miller. “He was friends with everybody. His personality. He was so sweet.”
Officials said two Shenandoah officers and one Montgomery County sheriff’s officers suffered minor injuries when they tried to enter the burning house and save the trapped family members. The fire was so intense that once the officers reached the stairs, they were driven away by the heat.
“It’s the worst job a firefighter can face, when he knows the children are in there, the building is collapsing, and then he knows he’s not going to be able to save them,” Williams said.
Each of the officers was treated at a hospital and released.
The fire, which spread to two other homes, caused the house to collapse, Williams said.
Investigators said It is unclear if the family’s home was equipped with smoke detectors.
The investigation will determine where the children were when the fire started in relation to where their bodies were found, fire officials said.
Officials said the children’s grandfather, Bobby Johnson is a pastor of a church in Willis.
Crisis counselors and religious leaders were on site to help those in need.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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