Children killed in Waco house fire identified

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) The two children who died in a house fire Friday morning in Waco were identified Friday afternoon as Anthony Cole Puente, 4, and Rachael Rose Puente, 2.

(Photo by Christopher Shadrock)

A GoFundMe account has been established to help the family with expenses.

The two children died in a fire that started early Friday morning at their family’s home in the 1200 block of Webster Avenue.

Crews were dispatched to the fire at around 1:30 a.m.

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 escaped from the burning home.

The 11-year-old girl is a student at West Avenue School.

“Our principal has been in contact with the family, and we have delivered clothes and school supplies to the campus for that student. We are also working with the Faith Alliance, a group of about 40 local congregations that support our schools in a variety of ways, to identify additional resources for the family,” Waco ISD spokesman Kyle Debeer said.

“This is a devastating tragedy, and our hearts break knowing that one of our families lost two young children last night. We hope that the support that we can offer will provide some small measure of comfort at this terribly difficult time,” he said.

The house in which the children died is next to Jesse’s Tortilla Factory at 1226 Webster.

The tortilla factory’s manager, Santos Rodriguez, said the 4-year-old came into the business “all the time.”

“He was loud and fun and always asked me for tortillas,” Rodriguez said.

“He had this great big smile. I sure will miss that smile.”

The fire was under control in less than 15 minutes, Bergerson said.

The home sustained significant damage from smoke, fire and water.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Waco Fire Chief Bobby Tatum said.

“This terrible tragedy affects our entire community. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family,” he said.

Waco police are investigating the children's deaths.