Salado Family Hopes Brother's Death Will Help Save Others - - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Salado Family Hopes Brother's Death Will Help Save Others

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(KCEN) – The nightmare started on Wednesday for the Torres family. It was a day they will never forget after a fire engulfed their home, and took the life of a loved one.

"I threw the phone down. I yelled and fell to my knees, screaming. I couldn't believe it," Omar Torres said. "I would give anything to have my brother back."

Omar and his wife rushed to the Salado home, but it was too late. His 30-year-old brother, the oldest of four, was gone.

"He got home, and turned on the space heater just like every other night, and unfortunately something caught fire," Omar said.

Alex was staying in an added on room to his parent's home. When the fire started from the space heater, the family of five living upstairs noticed the fire and rushed out.

Alex's parents, and 17-year-old brother Ivan ran to help Alex, but the smoke was too thick, and the fire already ripping through the walls.

"I don't honestly care about the possessions," Omar said. "We lost our brother. We were a year, a month and a day apart. I have never known what a life is without him."

On Sunday hundreds gathered at the charred remains of the home to light candles and place flowers where Alex's room once stood.

Through the darkness and ashes, Omar and his family are finding little treasures… memories they once thought were destroyed. Amazingly, childhood pictures survived the fire, and while the borders are blackened and flaking off from the flames, they're revived memories of the brother they lost.

And while it's a hard sight to look at – Alex's room burned to the ground – they hope the loss of their brother will help save others.

"You have to be careful with space heaters, where you put them, and what you put around them," Omar said.

Omar says they used space heaters because the home was old and not well insulated. He knows other families do the same, and he just hopes they see Alex's story and pay more attention to how they use them, and make sure they use them properly.

"You see it on the news all the time. Sometime we just take it for granted how life can be just taken," he said.

Due to the harsh winter, there have already been 15 fires in Bell County, not including fires with in city limits. Two of those were caused by space heaters.

The Bell County Fire Marshall's office says you should never use an extension cord to plug in space heaters. They should be plugged directly into the outlet and unplugged when no one is at home. They should also be placed in an area three feet away from household items.

Also if you do not have a working smoke detector you can call the local fire departments to get one for free.

If you would like to help the Torres family a fund has been set up at the BBVA Compass Bank in Salado under Yecenia Torres – Torres Family. You can also (click here) to donate to their online fund.

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