OMAHA, NE – The grandmother and father of two baby boys killed in a Wednesday morning fire are still stunned by the fire.
3 year-old Gabriel Rodriguez and his 3 month-old brother, Brandon, both died in the fire at Maplewood Estates in northwest Omaha. Their 1 year-old sister Adrianna survived. She was in her grandmother’s arms Thursday. Her mother, Champaine Harn remained in a medically induced coma at Creighton University Medical Center.
“It's like an emotional roller-coaster. And I just can't believe this happened. And it's like I'm in doubt,” said Harne’s mother and the children’s grandmother, Tammy Salas. “She was on the phone hysterical, telling me something bad. It was a fire. She threw Adrianna out the window. She tried to grab Gabriel but he took off running and she couldn't find him.”
The family hadn’t returned to the burned out mobile home Thursday. Neighbors and friends built a memorial to the two young boys killed. They brought toys, lit candles, even erected an artificial Christmas tree in front of the home.
The boys’ father, Victor Rodriguez, wasn’t home when the flames broke out. He said through an interpreter Thursday that the loss was too much to bear.
“I came to the hospital. I just grabbed my daughter. And I asked for my sons. I was asking for both of them. They wouldn’t tell me anything. When I asked, nothing. And then the doctor came and he told me, ‘It’s done,’” said Rodriguez.
The pair hopes Champaine Harn has more answers. Salas said doctors plan to wake her up sometime Friday.
Omaha Fire Chief Bernie Kanger said he would not release a cause until the autopsies were complete.
Two groups have set up funds to help the family. The Firefighters Union has raised $1000. They are also taking donations at the Fire Fighters Credit Union and at Omaha fire stations.
Champaine Harn is an employee of Mercy Hospital, where coworkers have also started a relief fund. Donations can be dropped off at any Creighton Federal Credit Union.