CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A 2-year-old girl has died after a house fire that left her mother and 9-year-old brother dead and several other family members seriously injured in east Charlotte Wednesday morning.
The Mecklenburg County Coroner’s Office confirmed that Ana Sanchez, the mother of the children who were killed and injured in the fire, died in the hospital around 5:40 a.m. Saturday.
An unattended candle likely started the fire, which was deemed accidental, fire officials say.
The Charlotte Fire Department released audio recordings of the 911 calls which were placed by the husband and father of the family as well as the neighbor at the house next door. Clementino Mendez Domingo, who was at work when his wife called to alert him about the fire, contacted authorities and stated that he asked his family to “get out” of the house.
A neighbor from across the street called 911 soon afterwards, telling the dispatcher that the fire was “blazing” before speaking with residents of the house that had fled the fire and relayed to her that a baby was still in the home at that time. Trucks arrived on the scene during the second call as firefighters began to fight the blaze.
Domingo, told the Charlotte Observer that his step-son, 9-year-old Leonel Alexander Villagrez Sanchez, died on Wednesday at Novant Health Presbyterian and his 2-year-old daughter, Aranza Santa Mendez Sanchez, died around 11 p.m. Wednesday at Carolinas Medical Center,
The fire happened in the 1900 block of Academy Street just before 1 a.m. A total of 30 Charlotte Fire Department firefighters responded to the scene and controlled the fire within 30 minutes, officials say.
A total of 10 people were inside the home when the fire sparked.
Brian Taylor from the State Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the fire on Academy Street.
“They had a working smoke alarm there,” said Taylor. “Which we feel by having that we didn’t have 10 fatalities.”
According to Medic, five children and two adults were transported to the hospital with life threatening injuries. The 9-year-old later died from their injuries at the hospital, and another child has died Thursday.
Now, the family is trying to get the children who have passed to Guatemala.
“They came to the conclusion that they would send back the children to where the mother is from,” said Cristina Espanza, a spokeswoman from the Guatemalan Consulate in Raleigh.
Espanza says she knew the family well.
“They were very active. They would always help the community,” said Espanza. “It is a terrible tragedy that something like this happens to people that were so good to others.”
Three other people were inside the home at the time of the fire and were able to escape.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police blocked off a section of Academy Street as they went door-to-door to talk to neighbors.
The State Fire Marshal’s office said they are actively working to try and help decrease the number of fire-related deaths in the state.
“We have a great concern that there is a fire problem and a majority of those have been heat related,” said Taylor.
Community members who knew the family are now helping to raise funds and gather supplies to help the family.