BRIDGEPORT, Neb. (AP) - The bodies of a 13-year-old girl and her
10-year-old brother were found Monday in a closet, where they had
taken refuge after a fire broke out in the family's home.
Killed were Lauren Fuentes and Manuel Fuentes III, Morrill
County Sheriff John Edens said.
Their parents - Manuel Fuentes Jr., 42, and Terrie Fuentes, 34 -
were both listed in critical condition Monday night at North
Colorado Medical Center, a nursing supervisor at the Greeley burn
hospital said.
Two other children, Jessica, 9, and Julia, 6, received minor
injuries, said Bruce Mitchell, chief of Bridgeport's all-volunteer
fire department.
"The dad or the mom must have brought them out safely," said
next-door neighbor Bob Daily. "The man wanted to go back in for
the other two who were still trapped inside, but he had to be
restrained by the policemen."
Terrie Fuentes told neighbors she had all three of her daughters
with her inside the house at one point, but the oldest wouldn't run
through the flames.
"She said she turned around and the girl was gone," said
Barsha Daily, who was visiting relatives next door. "She thought
she may have gone back to try to help her brother."
"She kept screaming, 'Help me, help me! My children are
inside,"' said Sherry Dailey, Bob's wife.
Santos Bedancud, a neighbor across the street, also heard the
shouts and immediately called 911 when he saw the fire from his
window.
"I heard kids hollering," he said. "Flames were coming out of
the front door, and they said there were still people inside so I
figured it wasn't good."
Neighbors tried to help firefighters put out the fire.
"Some of them were trying to help with garden hoses," Sherry
Daily said.
The cause of the fire was being investigated. However, the house
did not have smoke detectors, Mitchell said.
"I truly feel the result would have been much different if only
there would have been detectors," he said.
The family had moved into the home about a month ago and the
children were often outside playing, neighbors said.
Bob Daily said the woman worked at a local grocery store, while
the man worked for a concrete mixing company.
"They were a hard-working couple who were trying to make good
for their family," Daily said. "This is all tragic."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)