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Four dead in mobile home fire on Old Mexia Road, identities confirmed by family

Posted at 11:55 AM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 10:45:49-04

MCLENNAN COUNTY, TX — At least 4 people have died in an early morning mobile home fire in the 800 block of Old Mexia Road.

The Tello family lived in a mobile home on the property, until an early morning fire call brought sheriff's deputies around 3AM.

The family has confirmed the identities of those who died in the fire as 16-year-old Noemi Tello-Villa, 19-year-old Yoagsana Tello, 39-year-old Angelina Villa and 48-year-old Sotero Tello.

Two surviving members of this family mourn their loss as loving relatives try to comfort them.

The call to authorities originally came in as a possible grass fire, but deputies quickly realized they had a home on fire, and very likely a family inside.

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara called the scene “tragic” as he said his officers may have to have the scene closed off for as many as two days or more to complete their investigation.

The sheriff said the call on the fire came in just after 3 a.m., sending his officers to this country road just east of Bellmead, along with fire departments from Waco, Bellmead, Lacy Lakeview and Elm Mott.

Firefighters continued putting out hot spots well into Tuesday as investigators combed through the wreckage looking for clues to its cause.

As members of the Tello and Villa families gathered nearby, they learned of the deaths of Angelina Villa, her husband, Sotero Tello, and daughters Yoagsana and Noemi.

"We're really taking it hard, especially my nieces and two of their sisters, then their mom and their dad in all one setting, you know, it really hurts them," said relative Tiffany Villa who lost nieces and a brother and sister in law, who she calls the nicest people anyone could meet.

"They were just helping everyone they could if you needed a place to say and didn't have nowhere to go, they would take you in," she said.

Investigators cordoned off the area to look into the cause of the fire, as Sheriff McNamara arrived to comfort the family.

"It's a very tragic situation, very sad," he said.

The sheriff noted homes like this burn quickly, leaving barely a trace of evidence.

"We're gonna do everything we can to get to the bottom of this, and find out exactly what happened, and put the pieces together, so that's kinda where we're at now," said McNamara.

He says the investigation into the cause may take days as his detectives and 4 Texas Fire Marshals sift through what's left to look for clues.

In the meantime, family members mourn the adults who died but feel especially bad about losing the two teenagers.

"They were great kids they didn't have much time to live life like the rest of us got to, especially the youngest one so, I mean, it's a terrible thing that's happened," said Villa.

For now, electrical wiring looks like the cause of the fire, but investigators will continue their work to confirm that or rule it out.

“At first glance, it looks electrical,” said McNamara, “but we’re working with 4 state fire marshals to get to the exact cause."

A GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral expenses. To view the page, click here.