DALLAS COUNTY — Two young children died early Friday morning after their Dallas County home caught fire from candles that had been lit when the electricity went out, authorities said.
Dallas County Chief Deputy Stan McGahee said the fire, which was reported around 2:30 a.m., killed 2-year-old Trayshawn King and 3-year-old Jayshawn King.
Dallas County Coroner Tom Tidwell said the children died of smoke inhalation.
McGahee said strong storms that moved through overnight knocked out power around midnight and the family then lit candles. At some point, the home along Arkansas 7 near Sparkman caught fire. It was engulfed in flames by the time crews arrived.
McGahee said the children's father was taken to the hospital for treatment of lacerations to his forearm and hands when he broke a window trying to reach the children.
"It is difficult, it's sad, it's heart wrenching," McGahee said. "You want to make a difference and you know you're not. The most I can hope for out of this is somebody reads this story or sees this story and says 'Hey, this could be me. I need a better plan and I need to practice that plan."
McGahee said his agency would soon end its investigation because the cause of the fire is already known and not criminal. But, he said, the sheriff's office and the rest of the community will help in a rebuilding effort for the family. The home was reduced to a pile of burning rubble with only the chimney still standing Friday afternoon. Two vehicles were also destroyed in the blaze.
"This will be about rebuilding the family," he said. "This family, as you can tell, lost everything they have worked for. They got out with just what clothes they got on. That's it."