Three children and their grandmother died in a house fire last week near Houston during a blackout when historic cold weather swept through Texas, according to local officials.
Firefighters arrived at Jackie Pham Nguyen’s home shortly after receiving an emergency call around 2 a.m. on Feb. 16, according to Doug Adolph, a spokesman for the city of Sugar Land.
The structure was already “engulfed” in flames, Adolph said, with Nguyen outside the house. Nguyen, the mother of the three children, “had to be physically restrained from running back to her burning house,” Adolph said.
After putting out the fire, firefighters found the bodies of three children and their grandmother.
Adolph said his neighborhood had been without power for hours and that the family had posted on social media that they were lighting their fireplace to keep warm in the dark.
However, Adolph cautioned that the investigation is ongoing. “We have not yet identified the cause of the fire and we may never do so,” he said.
In an interview with CNN, Nguyen remembered her children, 11-year-old Olivia, 8-year-old Edison and 5-year-old Colette, as “phenomenal, incredible and tough humans,” and her mother as a refugee. from Vietnam who came to Kansas with nothing, sacrificed a lot for her children and whose love was “ten times greater when it comes to grandchildren.”
Jackie Pham Nguyen did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News, nor did Nathan Nguyen, the children’s father.
The online crowdfunding double pages, hosted by both parents and verified by GoFundMe, remember children as “eternal sources of light and wonder” and “angels” with “fun and daring attitudes.”
Together, the pages have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars as of Friday night.
In a statement on the fundraising page, Jackie Pham Nguyen thanked donors for their support, saying that ideally “we would love to honor Olivia, Edison and Colette with an enduring foundation of some kind.”
“Our hearts are broken right now,” Nguyen wrote. “However, your acts of kindness have given us some comfort to move forward. We will be eternally grateful.”