By Jim Hannah and William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer
WARSAW, Ky. - A 21-year-old mother and her two young children died Wednesday in a fire in their Gallatin County trailer home that authorities say was started by a faulty extension cord.
Manuel Velasquez discovered his wife and their children, a 2-year-old daughter and a 3-month-old son, unconscious when he returned home from his job stripping tobacco. The fire had burned out by the time he arrived, said Gallatin County Sheriff's Deputy Josh Neale.
"He grabbed the children and took them (in a vehicle) to a neighbor's house,'' Neale said. "He rushed out saying 9-1-1."
Velasquez, a farm hand from Mexico who speaks little English, rushed back to the trailer and with the help of a relative pulled his wife onto the driveway in the 3000 block of Knox Lillard Road, Neale said.
The children, Alexander Velasquez and Naomi Velasquez, were pronounced dead at the scene. Citialli Hernandez, 21, was taken to Carroll County Memorial Hospital, in Carrollton, where she was pronounced dead.
The family lived in a rural area just west of Warsaw, and about 45 miles south of Cincinnati.
Neale said the Kentucky State Police and Kentucky State Fire Marshal determined the blaze was an accidental electrical fire, caused by a faulty extension cord.
It appears the victims all suffered smoke inhalation, Neale said. Hernandez also suffered some burns.
"Apparently the mother tried to put the fire out."
Todd Gould, a next-door neighbor and friend of the family, said Velasquez had been stripping tobacco when the fire broke out.
Word of the fire raced through this small community. When Gould heard about the fire, he rushed to the trailer, where he saw Velasquez holding his children in the back of an ambulance trying "to wake them up."
There was no visible fire damage to the outside of the trailer, which sits on a rolling hillside. Laundry was still hanging on the line about 2 feet from the trailer.
The family had been in the United States for about four years and Velasquez worked for Gallatin County farmer Kenny Cozine, Gould said.
The family rented the trailer from Cozine, he said.
"This was a family of great love," said Gould's fiancee, Jeri Ketron, 28. "A family of warmth and generosity."
Revelers ring in 2004 under tight security
Direct help coming for sewer woes
Health Alliance, Anthem talks failing
Plan takes on 'black-on-black' crime
2004: Looking Ahead
IN THE TRISTATE
Addyston losing stalwarts
Warren County ballot sparse
From the state capitals
SUV, city house combed for clues
She spends her life helping those who need it the most
Inspector moved on complaint of conflict
History teacher focuses on role of bystanders during events of note
Knowledge game played on local TV
Mason store manager gets police award
Drunken driving statute toughened as 2004 begins
New Year's Day closings
I-270 shootings clues sought
A year of weird headlines puts Ohio on the map
Fertility expert may run for coroner
Former hunters, they focus now on conserving species
Nuns' pizzeria gets breather
Tax repeal try is thorn
Public safety briefs
Discussion, workshops open to community
Good Things Happening
Crowley: Restaurants want helping from levee
Carol Easton Fox, planner, analyst
James Williams' pastry showed artistry
New crib, playpen law takes effect
Mother, 2 kids killed in blaze
N.Ky. chamber counts ways to find road money