Space heater fire kills 7-year-old girl

VALLEY VIEW, TX – A devastating house fire has claimed the life of Delena Zuniga, a 7-year-old girl in Valley View, Texas. The fire ignited early Thursday morning, consuming the rented mobile home where the Braudrick family lived, located 54 miles north of Fort Worth.

The lack of central heating in the residence had led the family of eight to use individual space heaters in each bedroom. Now, these heaters are being eyed as the probable culprits in the blaze that violently took the young girl’s life.

Savannah Darby, Delena’s aunt, recalled the frightful scene. A 6-year-old woke up his family members due to the spreading fire. However, it was too late to save Delena. The child’s father suffered severe burns while trying to access her room, but the blaze had spread too intensely, Darby said.

The surviving family members barely escaped the raging fire- two of the boys sustained burn injuries on their hands and forehead, while the mother suffered from smoke inhalation. They are all being treated at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

Still reeling from the loss, their neighbor, Rafael Guzman, expressed his grief over Delena’s death. He remembered her fondly as the sweet girl who would drop by to give his daughter cookies.

Upon arrival at the scene, it took volunteer firefighters about twelve minutes to respond to the already intense fire situation, according to the fire chief. Cook County Fire Marshal Ray Fletcher stated that an early arriving officer tried accessing the home but was thwarted due to the heavy involvement of fire.