Children killed in house fire ‘didn’t get to live life,’ aunt says

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Services have been scheduled for Anthony Cole Puente, Jr., 4, and his sister, Rachel Rose Aleman, 2, who died in an early-morning house fire on Nov. 2 in Waco.

Rachel Rose Aleman and Anthony Cole Puente, Jr. died in the Oct. 2 fire. (Family photo)

The two will be buried in an embrace in a single casket, family members said Wednesday.

Visitation is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at OakCrest Funeral Home at 4520 Bosque Blvd in Waco.

A prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in the funeral home chapel.

The funeral service for the two children is at 11 a.m. Friday at Oakwood Cemetery.

John and Felicia Puente had cared for their niece and nephew ever since the two children were born.

Their father, who dropped the two off with their grandmother the night before the fire because he had to work, can’t bring himself to talk about the tragedy, John Puente said Wednesday.

"He's just real heartbroken he's angry and he doesn’t want to get out of bed,” Puente said.

The two children died in a fire that started around 1:30 a.m. Nov. 2 at their family’s home in the 1200 block of Webster Avenue.

Flames were shooting from both sides of the house when the first firefighters arrived.

Firefighters quickly discovered that the two children were still inside the home, EMT Deputy Chief R.M. Bergerson said.

Bergerson said it took 12 minutes for firefighters to find the two; one was inside a closet and the other inside a bathroom.

Both children were taken to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center in critical condition.

They died a short time later.

The children's grandmother and her 11-year-old daughter, a student at West Avenue Elementary School, escaped from the burning home.

"I mean they were in the closet, we know they were screaming, we know they were scared. I mean, I don't understand how everybody got out and I'm glad they got out, but I don't understand why they didn't grab them, these children were not big children," Felicia Puente said Wednesday.

"They didn't get to live life. I mean they're never going to graduate high school or have another birthday or just get to enjoy live get a driver’s license and learn how to drive," she said.

John describes Anthony as “real playful.”

“He was a good boy,” he said.

Felicia said Rachel stole her heart immediately.

"She had her Daddy's personality so she could be her little tomboy over there and with us, she was just a little girl,” she said.

The Puentes say they’re grateful to the firefighters who tried to save the children.

"We'd like to thank and maybe even see the firefighters that last held them, just to tell them ‘thank you for trying,’ because we know they tried."

A GoFundMe account established to help the family with expenses had raised just more than $2,500 toward a $6,000 goal late Wednesday morning.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Waco police are investigating the children's deaths.