TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texan family has been left homeless and three children injured by a house fire on County Road 273 in Smith County.
Late Saturday, Iban Nunez heard a loud banging at his back door when he realized his next door neighbor's house was on fire. He said his neighbor was yelling for help because his young daughter was still inside.
"We couldn't get in through the back door and I just remembered that there was a front door so I come running across and I go over there and push it open," Nunez said. "All I could hear was the little girl in there screaming [and] at first I tried to get her to come out but she wasn't coming so I had to go in there and get her."
Four-year-old Zaylee, 3-year-old Jaxon, and 1-year-old Mason were in the living when the fire started. The mother of the children was working at the time and the father was asleep in the bedroom. Neighbors said the smoke from the fire woke him. The smoke got thicker as he approached the living room. The dad was able to run out the back door with the two youngest children.
Neighbor Kimberly Novak was also home when the fire began. She said she tried to help the best way she could.
"I tried to get in through the back door but the flames had already engulfed it so by that time I thought of the front door and I went to go around it and luckily Iban was coming out from the front door with Zaylee," she said. " So I took her [and] the other kids home; I was going to get them settled and changed and then I realized Zaylee's skin was just peeling off."
All three children are now safe. Zaylee is still recovering from second-degree burns at Dallas Parkland Memorial Hospital.