Family mourns loss of children killed in Van Alstyne fire

A Van Alstyne family is preparing to lay to rest a brother and sister killed when their father set the house on fire.

The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office said it appears 45-year-old David Lee Small committed suicide and caused the deaths of 9-year-old Reagan and 8-year-old Grant in the Sunday afternoon fire.

Loved ones will gather at First Baptist Church in Melissa on Thursday to remember the young lives.

The family met at the funeral home Wednesday, seeing the children for the first time since their bodies were found inside the family's burning home on Keppler Road.

“I called her my baby girl’s baby girl,” said the children’s grandfather, Duke Sparks. “And I called him my blue eyes buddy boy.”

Initially, fire investigators said there were signs of smoke inhalation. But Sparks says he's learned it was carbon monoxide that took their lives.

“We got the investigator’s report yesterday,” said Sparks. “Our babies just went to sleep, no fear no pain. They just went to be with Jesus.”

As a career educator, he says it was important for him to share that message.

“For those babies to know that their friends didn't suffer, because when you say ‘Fire,’ all these fears go to adults, much less children,” said Sparks.

Sparks says his daughter, Karen, has the unimaginable road ahead of starting over without her children, but the outpouring of love and support will give her the strength she needs

“I've said all the things that you say to people to comfort them, but when you feel the pain that we feel and then all those words that you said to other people, they're real and they mean everything to you,” said Sparks.

Thursday’s visitation starts at 4 p.m. Thursday. The funeral is scheduled for Friday.

A GoFundMe account for the family has been set up at

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