Mother, daughter killed in house fire; dad tries to save them, dies from burns


by Malini Basu & Andrew Horansky / KHOU 11 News

Posted on July 19, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 19 at 9:44 PM

HOUSTON – A 25-year-old man who tried to save his fiancé and daughter from a northeast Harris County house fire Thursday morning has died from his injuries.

Javier Martinez and the other two victims – 25-year-old Liliana Perales and 6-year-old Allesandra Martinez – were at their home in the 4700 block of Cicada Lane when the fire started around midnight.

Javier Martinez was downstairs, and his fiancé and daughter were upstairs at the time.

Apparently, a neighbor spotted the flames and broke into the living room, pulling the elder Martinez out.

But once he got outside, Javier Martinez realized his family was still in the burning home and sprang into action.

"We kinda went inside the house to see if we could get to the upstairs, but we couldn’t because the fire was right in front of the stairs," said neighbor Darius Chandler.

Neighbors said Martinez tried absolutely everything, but nothing could be done. He even tried to use a ladder to reach them. 

"He was breaking out the front window," said Lt. Dean Hensley. "They said he had cuts to his body. He had a ladder; he was trying to get up on the roof. He was trying to get into the windows. He obviously knew his family was still inside, and he was trying to get in to save them."

Neighbors had to pull the badly-burned, but determined man away.

Meanwhile, firefighters arrived at the scene and found the bodies of Allesandra Martinez and Perales by the back door. Investigators believe they were trying to escape, but died from smoke inhalation.

KHOU 11 News cameras were on the scene as firefighters came out of the home, visibly shaken and upset.

Javier Martinez was rushed to the hospital, where he died Thursday afternoon.

The Martinez family had just moved into the house two weeks ago and loved ones said they had big plans for the future.

Perales worked at a doctor’s office and went to nursing school and Javier Martinez worked at an oil rig company. The two were planning to be married in November, and Alessandra was going to be in the first grade this upcoming school year.

Investigators said there was nothing suspicious about the fire, but the cause was still under investigation late Thursday.