Two young children who died last month in a house fire in South Merced were identified Thursday by the Merced County Coroner’s Office.
The boys, ages 3 and 5, were killed April 23 when flames broke out around 10 p.m. at a home in the 900 block of 10th Street in South Merced.
They were identified Thursday by the Coroner’s Office as 3-year-old Yandel Gomez-Garcia and 5-year-old Angel Gomez-Garcia. They were brothers, Deputy Daryl Allen acknowledged.
An autopsy report confirmed the children died from smoke inhalation and burns and the cause of death was listed as “accidental,” Allen said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation Thursday.
Battalion Chief Cory Haas said it was too early in the probe to comment on the cause or release the details of any preliminary findings. A damage estimate could not immediately be confirmed Thursday.
One Merced firefighter was injured while scrambling through the burning house in an effort to save the children. The firefighter, whose name has not been released, suffered third-degree burns on his ears and second-degree burns on one of his feet.
The firefighter, who was wearing full protective gear, entered the home immediately to search for the children. Typically, firefighters will try to control a house fire first by opening up a portion of the roof to ventilate the fire, an action the also helps keep firefighters safe.
But, with reports of children trapped inside the dangerous blaze, firefighters immediately went into what Chief Michael Wilkinson has described as “rescue” mode.
“They did everything they could to try to find any victims,” Wilkinson said in April.