"This is horrible, no baby deserves this. She's really heartbroken," the woman's cousin said.
A Florida family is grieving as three members tragically lost their lives to a severe house fire that burned down their mobile home on April 17.
Veronica Bermudez, 22, and her son Elijah Lopez, 3, were able to successfully escape their residence and came outside to yell for help, per PEOPLE. Bermudez even tried to save her family and suffered severe burns to her arms and hair. Elijah's father Angel Lopez Sr., 22, and their two other kids Angel Lopez Jr., 5, and a 14-month-old Harmony Lopez, however, did not survive after repeated attempts to save them.
#BREAKING UPDATE: A father and two children were killed in the house fire while a mother and 3-year-old son narrowly escaped.— 10 Tampa Bay (@10TampaBay) April 17, 2023
Please keep this family in your thoughts.
First responders were informed of the fire around 1:02 p.m. According to the HCSO, it took workers 12 minutes to reach the scene. In a press conference on Monday, April 17, sheriff Chad Chronister stated that the woman "had just got out of her house" with her 3-year-old child and begged for assistance. When first responders arrived to find two persons outdoors and the home's exterior "engulfed in flames," the HCSO said in a statement, per WTSP.
Chronister continued, citing Bermudez as saying that her 3-year-old son woke her up to inform her about the fire. "He was mom's notifier, he walked in the room telling her, 'Mommy, mommy, the house was on fire! The house was on fire!' She was able to run outside with him," Suzette Pena, a cousin of Bermudez who has set up a GoFundMe for the family, said to the outlet.
The mother told the deputy the last thing she remembered was turning around and seeing her husband — 22-year old Angel Lopez, Sr. — with the other two children, 5-year-old Angel Lopez, Jr. and 14-month-old Harmony Lopez. https://t.co/Pj3OQkp4UU— ABC Action News (@abcactionnews) April 18, 2023
Firefighters encountered "intense fire conditions," according to Chronister, prohibiting a rapid rescue. The majority of the roof also collapsed during the fire, Chronister said. "This is horrible, no baby deserves this. She's really heartbroken. She says she wishes her life would be over. She says there's really nothing else to live for," Pena added.
Fire officials have not yet disclosed the cause of the fire. 13 different units in total responded to the mobile home fire. The family questions whether more could have been done to save lives, including whether the landlord kept the park's amenities up to date and whether fire crews arrived soon enough. "I'm pretty sure more could've been done. It wouldn't save everybody, but I felt like at least one person would have been saved. There's an investigation being done and we're waiting on that. We want to know what happened. Someone will be held accountable," Pena said.
According to the HCSO, the mother and son were eventually taken to a local hospital in stable condition. "This scene has all of our responders shaken," Chronister said, per Monday's statement from the sheriff's office. "Losing three lives, especially two children, is a tragedy beyond words."
"The deputy said he's never felt more helpless in his entire career being a deputy sheriff," Chronister said.
Angel Lopez Sr., and his two children, Angel Lopez Jr, 5, and 14-month-old Harmony Lopez, were killed Monday after a fire broke out at their home in Lithia. Their mother, Veronica Bermudez and her son, Elijah Lopez, both survived. Story via @WFLAAnnie : https://t.co/xb0jmucH9L pic.twitter.com/3LzI8lC4FY— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) April 18, 2023
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe