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House Fire Kills Three Kids And Their Grandmother Trying To Stay Warm In Texas

No power. No heat. No running water. Clogged roads. Empty store shelves.

Those were the conditions after a winter storm and following cold snap caught Texas off-guard, a crisis seldom seen on such a scale. With each new challenge has come news of fresh tragedies and as the Lone Star state starts to power back up, a clearer picture of just how many tragedies Texas families suffered is beginning to emerge.

As ABC News reported, about 70 deaths across the nation can be attributed to the storm and prolonged cold temperatures, most of them in Texas, largely from people either trying to stay warm, as with a pair who died of carbon monoxide poisoning, or those who failed to do so.

One of the most heartbreaking losses comes out of the Houston area.

As CNN reported, like so many others in the area, Loan Le lost her power on the night of Monday, February 15. It wasn't the first time she had lost power in her home — she had managed to weather Hurricane Harvey there — but on that night, she decided to spend the night with her daughter, Jackie Pham Nguyen, and her three grandchildren, Olivia, 11, Edison, 8, and Colette, 5.

By the next morning, only Nguyen was left alive.

Although her power stayed on for a few hours longer than her mother's, Nguyen's did eventually go out.

So the family built a fire in the fireplace to stay warm, and they played some card games and board games together before heading for bed around 9:30, Nguyen told CNN.

"Tucked my kids into bed and really the next thing I know I'm in the hospital," she recalled. "A few hours later the fireman and police officer came and said that no one else made it."

Although Nguyen's memories of the night are hazy, firefighters who responded to the blaze at about 2 am said that she had to be physically restrained.

Despite burns to her hands, Nguyen was trying to run back into the burning house to rescue her children.

She told CNN that she could recall standing on the first floor of the home, where her bedroom is, being unable to get upstairs to the kids' rooms, and yelling.

"I was just standing there screaming and screaming and screaming their names hoping they would come out of their rooms and basically jump over so that we could get out. I just remember feeling like it was so dark and I can still kind of hear everything crackling around me."

The true cause of the fire may never be known.

But, according to the Houston Chronicle, fire investigators took note of the use of the fireplace.

"Obviously they were trying to stay warm," Sugar Land Fire Department spokesman Doug Adolph told the Chronicle. "We can't say that's what the cause was, we just think we know they were using a fireplace."

ABC 13 reporter Shelley Childers called it "a really bad day. Probably one of the worst in my 11 year career," in an Instagram post showing the gutted remains of the house.

And now, Nguyen is doing what she can to pick up the pieces of her shattered life.

"My heart is broken," Nguyen told CNN. "I'm never gonna be the same. I'm in this crisis tactical mode now and I'm just really focused on all this final arrangements because this is the last sort of thing I'm going to do for my kids."

A pair of GoFundMe accounts have been set up, one by Nguyen, and one by her brother, both with the intent to use the funds to start a foundation in honor of Olivia, Edison, and Colette.

"At the end of the day, we want this all to mean something, and that your kind intentions to are also honored in a meaningful and lasting way," Nguyen wrote on her GoFundMe. "Our hearts are broken right now. However, your acts of kindness have given us some comfort to pull us through. We are forever grateful to you all."

h/t: CNN