Six Killed, Three Injured in Granbury Fire

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A high school senior who helped two others escape a house fire in Granbury that killed six people says he barely made it out alive. (Published Monday, Mar 7, 2011)

    A fire raced through a lakefront home in North Texas early Sunday, killing six people and injuring three others, authorities said.

    The fire broke out at about 5:30 a.m. Sunday in a double-wide mobile home in Lake Granbury, about 65 miles southwest of Dallas, Hood County Fire Marshal Brian Fine told The Associated Press.

    Fire Survivor: "I Just Wish It Didn't Happen"

    [DFW] Fire Survivor: "I Just Wish It Didn't Happen"
    A high school senior who helped two others escape a house fire in Granbury that killed six people says he barely made it out alive. (Published Monday, Mar 7, 2011)

    The fire happened after a birthday party that had largely broken up for the night, Fine said. The dead ranged in age from 18 to 30 years old and included three men and three women who had lingered after the party, he said.

    Two of the injured were airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where they were treated for smoke inhalation and minor cuts and discharged, Fine said. The third was admitted for observation at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Fine said.

    Survivor Woke Up to Find House on Fire

    [DFW] Survivor Woke Up to Find House on Fire
    18-year-old Cody Rubalcaba saved two of his friends from a mobile home fire in Granbury that killed six people. (Published Monday, Mar 7, 2011)

    18-year-old inside helps two escape

    Cody Rubalcaba, 18, helped two people out of the burning home. He said he and his friends fell asleep after celebrating a friend's 17th birthday.

    Six Killed, Three Injured in Granbury Fire

    [DFW] Six Killed, Three Injured in Granbury Fire
    Six young people are dead and three are injured after a mobile home fire in Granbury. (Published Monday, Mar 7, 2011)

    He woke up coughing at 5:30 a.m. and noticed the house was filled with smoke.

    "I saw a glare of just flames in the master bedroom," he said.

    The smoke was so thick, he had to crawl around to be able to get any air, Rubalcaba said. He said the front door was in flames, and the back door had caught fire.

    "When you're in that situation, you're panicking, and it's scary," he said. "I didn't like it at all. I didn't think I was going to be able to make it out at one point."

    The first window he tried to open was locked, and another only opened about four inches, so he broke it open, cutting and burning himself.

    Rubalcaba tried to wake up one of his friends to no avail, but then heard one girl who had woken up and was asking for help.

    She ran to the neighboring homes and began banging on doors and windows in hopes that someone would call 911 after he helped her out.

    Rubalcaba said he caught his breath and went back inside and helped someone else out.

    "He was like, 'I can't see nothing.' I was like, 'Follow my voice.' I was like, 'I'm going to lead you to the window and crawl and help you out,'" he said.

    Rubalcaba said he wanted to go back inside, but the man he had just helped told him it was too dangerous.

    "I ran back to the window, and I started screaming names," he said. "I yelled out everybody's names like nine times each, and no one would respond back."

    Rubalcaba, a senior at Western Hills High School, said he wishes he could have saved more people.

    "It's so hard for me," he said. "It just makes me want to cry talking about it because I'm going to miss them a lot, and I just wish it didn't happen."

    Rubalcaba was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where we was treated for shock, minor cuts and smoke inhalation.

    No cause has been determined for the fire, which was fought by multiple departments around the county, Fine said.

    The Port Ridglea East development, where the fire took place, is made up mostly of retirees and weekenders. A neighbor said the house was occupied full-time.

    The identities of the dead and injured were being withheld until their families could be notified, Fine said. None were from Hood County, however, making family contacts difficult, he said.

    Calvin Reineck, the 18-year-old son of the mobile home's owner, was among those killed in the fire. His 16-year-old sister, Celeste, was seriously injured in a car crash earlier that same night after she left the party to give some friends a ride home.

    Friends said she is in the hospital and does not yet know about the fire.

    NBCDFW reporter Susy Solis contributed to an earlier version of this report.