7-year-old killed in mobile home fire likely caused by space heater

A 7-year-old Cooke County girl is dead after a house fire tore through her home.

The fire destroyed the Braudrick family’s home Thursday morning in Valley View, located 54 miles north of Fort Worth.

The family lives in a rented mobile home. According to a relative, the family has a space heater in each of the bedrooms since they don’t have central heat. It's being considered as a likely source for the fire that killed 7-year-old Delena Zuniga.

The family of 8 was asleep inside when the fire happened.

Savannah Darby is Delena’s aunt. She says she had a space heater in her bedroom to protect against freezing cold temperatures with no central heat.

"My 6-year-old nephew tried to wake everybody up as best as he could," she said. "But by the time my brother-in-law got over there, the fire was going pretty well."

Delena's dad suffered severe burns over his body trying to get into her room in an effort to save her but could not reach her.

"Roger, my brother-in-law, he just lost his daughter," Darby said. "So it's not real easy to go through. So he's really struggling with that."

The rest of the family was able to make it out of the inferno alive.

Two of the boys sustained burns to their hands and forehead.

(Courtesy: Braudrick Family)

Delena's mom suffered smoke inhalation.

All of them are being treated at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

Their neighbor, Rafael Guzman, is devastated by Delena's passing.

"Sometimes, she came and gives some cookies to my daughter. I mean, it's really sad," he said.

The fire chief told FOX 4 it took volunteer firefighters about 12 minutes to respond to the scene.

Cook County Fire Marshal Ray Fletcher said it was already intense.

"A police officer was first on scene and tried to make access, but it was too much fire involved in that end of the mobile home," he said. 


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Fletcher says the space heater is being considered as the likely source of ignition.

"The investigation is ongoing. We're looking at all sources of ignition in that room," he said.

A fence now surrounds the property. Well-wishers have left stuffed animals on it. 

Darby says her young niece was a sweet princess who loved all things girly.

"Delena was named after my mom. She passed six years ago. So Delena was around to be the legacy for my mom, and so it's hard," she said. "She was really spunky. I never got to spend as much time with her as I wanted to." 

Darby says the couple's three other children were not injured and are staying with their grandparents.

Valley View ISD is collecting clothing, shoes, and gift cards for the family at the Valley View Elementary School office.