Family, Community Remember Greenville 12-Year-Old Killed in Fire

Kayla Gonzalez, 12, died in a fire early Monday morning

More than 100 people gathered for a vigil in Greenville Tuesday night to remember a 12-year-old girl killed in a mobile home fire Monday that also injured her 16-year-old sister.

Kayla Gonzalez, 12, died in a fire that started at her family's home early Monday morning.

Her parents, Abel and Bonnie Gonzalez, have nine children together -- eight girls and a boy. Six people were home when the fired started.

Bonnie Gonzalez said her only son, Junior, woke her up and then tried to get Kayla out of the room she shared with Joanna.

"He knocked the AC unit out of the window," Bonnie explained in Spanish as her husband translated. She said the flames were too hot and too big.

"She was my favorite girl," Abel Gonzalez said through tears. "She's my daughter. She's the one who helped me. I'm going to miss her."

Fire investigators spent a day at the fire scene, looking for evidence of what sparked the flames. The cause of the fire remains a mystery.

On Tuesday afternoon, Abel and Bonnie Gonzalez walked up to the entrance at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas to visit their daughter, 16-year-old Joanna, who was brought to the hospital's burn unit by helicopter Monday after the fire.

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A fire ripped through a Greenville family's mobile home Monday, Sept. 9, 2019.

The Gonzalez family joined over 100 people for the vigil held by Greenville ISD at Carver Elementary, where Kayla graduated 5th grade last year.

"The vigil is an opportunity to grieve," Superintendent Demetrus Liggins said. "It's for the kids."

"It's definitely been a rough few days, but you keep strong and you keep pushing," principal Stacie Wilson said with tears in her eyes.

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Abel and Bonnie Gonzalez, outside Parkland Memorial Hospital, Sept. 10, 2019.

Friends and family members lit candles and released balloons in Kayla's favorite color, blue. Wilson also read excerpts from handwritten letters by Kayla's classmates.

Wednesday at Carver Elementary, Wilson said students are invited to wear hats to school for $1. The proceeds will go to the Gonzalez family.

NBC 5's Meredith Yeomans contributed to this report.

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