As smoke and flames filled their north-side house Tuesday morning, Jose Aleman and seven children scrambled outside.
But when Aleman realized that two of his sons were missing, he ran back into the burning house, neighbors said.
Within seconds, he brought out a 3-year-old and a 4-year-old, they said.
One “little boy’s face was covered in black, and he was coughing,” neighbor Roberta Sotelo said. “I took him and washed his face off and told my kids to tell the paramedics to come quickly.”
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That child, Eduardo Hernandez, 3, was listed in serious condition Tuesday at Cook Children’s Medical Center. His 4-year-old brother, Jesus, was in fair condition at the same hospital. They had inhaled smoke, Battalion Chief Richard Harrison said.
Aleman was treated at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth and released after a short time.
No other injuries were reported in the fire at the house in the 1200 block of Northwest 15th Street.
According to neighbors, 11 people live in the house — nine children and two adults. Fire officials said they knew of only eight children. The second adult was a woman who was not injured, Harrison said.
The blaze was reported about 8:30 a.m.
“I was in my house getting ready for school when I heard kids screaming,” said neighbor Isaiah Sotelo, 14. “I looked out the front door, and that’s when I saw flames coming out of the kitchen of the house across the street.”
Roberta Sotelo said that when Aleman brought the two boys out, he handed one to a man, who brought the child to Sotelo.
“The [other] kids were running around in the cold, and I told them to come into my house,” she said. Sotelo was baby-sitting seven children Tuesday afternoon while Aleman and the two boys were at the hospital.
Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the home, and they extinguished the flames in less than a half-hour.
The home had smoke detectors, but fire officials had not determined whether they were working.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, Harrison said.