2 children, father killed in Madison mobile home fire - WSMV Channel 4

2 children, father killed in Madison mobile home fire

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Firefighters responded to Cheyenne Boulevard around 12:20 a.m. Friday. (WSMV) Firefighters responded to Cheyenne Boulevard around 12:20 a.m. Friday. (WSMV)
Neighbors tried to save the family from the mobile home. (WSMV) Neighbors tried to save the family from the mobile home. (WSMV)
MADISON, TN (WSMV) -

Officials are investigating after two children and an adult were killed in a mobile home fire in Madison on Friday morning.

The Metro Nashville Police Department has identified the victims as siblings 2-year-old Lujana Mejia-Hernandez and 5-year-old Christopher Mejia-Hernandez and their father, Luciano Mejia-Sunun.

Sunun, 28, died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Sunday.

A 39-year-old man was also taken to the hospital. It's not clear what his condition is.

Investigators said they believe the fire was accidental and was caused by an electrical issue within the mobile home.

The man who survived the fire told investigators that he was woken up by a smoke detector, but officials said they have not found any smoke alarms in the debris.

Firefighters said they arrived to the 500 block of Cheyenne Boulevard around 12:20 a.m. Friday and thought people might be trapped inside, but some neighbors saw the trailer was on fire and acted fast to try to save the family. 

"Somebody said there was somebody in the back screaming. And a bunch of the neighbors around here took shovels, whatever they could get their hands on, to peel the back of that trailer off," said neighbor Ron Lyons.

Neighbors broke down when they found out two young children had died.

"That's heavy. I feel bad for these families. There are good people around here," said Lyons, who lives just two trailers away and saw the home on fire and called 911.

Neighbors managed to pull the family out. Paramedics and fire crews arrived after midnight, working to save the victims. Heartbreak was felt by family, neighbors and the firefighters responding.

"It is extremely difficult when we make incidents where we have civilian deaths," said Jerry Tomlinson, a Nashville fire district chief.

First responders who were involved in the incident will have stress management services provided to them on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Metro police helped fire investigators at the scene. Neighbors are still in shock over the loss.

"I don't know what to say about that, but these neighbors here stuck together to try and get them out. That's all I can say," said Lyons.

"They actually tore a wall out in the back of a section of this mobile home and pulled the victims through that hole that they created in the back of it," said Tomlinson.

The children’s mother was at work when the fire started, police said.

Alejandro Ruiz lives behind the home. Thursday was his 18th birthday. He had just come home from work when he heard a neighbor beating on the outside of the burning home trying to help. 

"Some of the neighbors were in front of the house, but no one was trying to go inside. They were trying to wait for firefighters," Ruiz said. "But, once we knew that children were in there, we tried our best."

Ruiz, his dad and uncle broke into the back of the house, using a shovel to tear through the back bedroom wall where the children were.

"My dad is the one who went inside, and my uncle he was the bravest one," Ruiz said. "He actually went in. He didn't cover his face or anything. He was looking for the girl."

Ruiz said once the two initial strips of siding fell of the house a wave of heat his them, but they were not deterred and kept looking for the children.

"The little girl was over here," Ruiz said. "The boy was over there. The father was by the door. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't see, but we ended up finding her. She was under a dresser."

Ruiz said he and neighbors tried to perform CPR while they waited on paramedics to arrive. The children did not survive.

Christopher Mejia-Hernandez was a kindergarten student at Neely's Bend Elementary. 

Metro Nashville Public Schools released the following statement:

We are deeply saddened by the death of a Neely's Bend Elementary School kindergartner last night. He was a student from Guatemala who had recently learned how to read and understand English. He was a bright student and had a great personality.

We mourn with the students, faculty and families who are grieving his loss.

Metro Schools crisis response teams were at Neely's Bend first thing this morning to speak with students and staff who need help processing this tragic news. They will remain on campus as long as needed and will be on-call after that. If anyone in the Neely's Bend community - parents included - feels the need to talk to one of our counselors, we encourage them to reach out.

Firefighters said all homes should have working smoke alarms. Homeowners are responsible for installing their own, and landlords are responsible for installing smoke alarms in any home they rent, firefighters said.

If you live in Davidson County and are in need of a smoke alarm, you may stop by the Nashville Fire Department Headquarters at 63 Hermitage Ave. from Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a free smoke alarm for your home while supplies last.

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