Sugar Land Texas house fire: Jackie Nguyen reflects on losing mom, and her three young kids during last weeks Texas power outage amid severe winter storm. Cause of fire yet to be determined.
A Texas mother recalled ‘screaming’ her children’s names as they burned to death in a house fire amid the widespread power outages last week.
Jackie Nguyen’s kids, Olivia, 11, Edison, 8, and Colette, 5, as well as her own mother, Loan Le, died early last Tuesday morning in the blaze at Nguyen’s Sugar Land home.
‘I was just standing there screaming and screaming and screaming their names hoping they would come out of their rooms and basically jump over so that we could get out,’ Nguyen told CNN. ‘I just remember feeling like it was so dark and I can still kind of hear everything crackling around me.’
Le retreated to Nguyen’s home about five miles away to hunker down when the power at her own house went out. Power and water outages plagued Texas last week amid an unusual deep freeze that sent many families like the Nguyen’s into survival mode as temperatures plunged into the single digits.
‘We thought we were really lucky because we still had power until the early evening,’ Nguyen said.
‘I’m never going to be the same.’
The close-knit kin gathered around the fireplace and played card games before turning in for bed at around 9:30 p.m.
‘Tucked my kids into bed and really the next thing I know I’m in the hospital,’ Nguyen recalled. ‘A few hours later the fireman and police officer came and said that no one else made it.’
Nguyen doesn’t fully remember what happened, she said, but recalls being on her first floor where her bedroom is and being unable to get upstairs to the children’s bedrooms. She yelled for her kids.
The fire department arrived around 2 a.m. — and the mom-of-three ‘had to be physically restrained from running back into the house,’ said Sugar Land spokesman Doug Adolph.
It took more than an hour to get the blaze under control.
‘My heart is broken,’ said Nguyen, who suffered burns to her hands. ‘I’m never going to be the same.’
Authorities are now working to determine the cause of the deadly fire — but Adolph said the family had posted on social media about using the fireplace to keep warm.
The cause of the fire may never be known
‘We can’t say for sure that was the cause of the fire. We just don’t know yet,’ he added. ‘It’s possible that the investigation may never identify an exact cause.’
Sugar Land had been without power for at least eight hours, he said.
Nguyen remembered her children as ‘phenomenal, amazing, little badass humans’ and noted that Olivia and Colette — who went by the nickname Coco — had consecutive birthdays on March 27 and 28.
‘Colette is just a little firecracker and she has so much charisma,’ Nguyen said. ‘She also, as a 5-year-old, had that level of confidence. She was never afraid, totally unapologetic, not intimidated.’
Her son, Edison, was a ‘sweet boy ‘who was obsessed with modern art and architecture.
‘He just had a very deep appreciation for any visual aesthetics,’ Nguyen said. ‘So kind and so caring and so thoughtful. … You wouldn’t think an 8-year-old had that level of depth.’
Nyugen’s mom, a refugee from Vietnam, dedicated her life to her grandkids.
‘My parents did everything for their kids, like, as immigrants, and coming to this country and then, that love that they gave me, it was tenfold when it came to the grandkids,’ Nguyen recalled.
Nguyen said her mom never stayed the night at her home — even during Hurricane Harvey — but ‘for some reason that day she decided to come over.’
‘I just feel like she was always schlepping the kids around, too,’ she added, ‘so maybe this was her last sort of thing, and you know, ‘Ubering’ the kids up to heaven.’
A GoFundMe page has raised more than $336,164 as of Monday morning.