VARDAMAN, Miss. (WTVA) -- Career firefighter Jonathan Blankenship has vivid memories of a house fire he responded to years ago.
A fire claimed the lives of two children there. A heater is to blame.
"I remember this fire often. It was one of the worst days of my career," Blankenship said.
He watches closely as the town next door prepares to bury three children.
"It's just an absolute tragic event," Blankenship added.
It's an event that would unfold early Saturday morning on First Street. The fire still smolders where a mother and five children lived. A space heater is to blame.
Vardaman Police Chief Kenneth Scott says Isabel Razo died trying to save her brothers. He says she made it out alive but returned to find them.
"They weren't surprised to hear that because they said that was kind of the little girl she was, always trying to take care of other people," Chief Scott said.
This little girl's chair is now an empty one in her class as are seats for her brothers, Oscar and Yoboni Razo.
To help them heal, children at Vardaman Elementary School were encouraged to express their feelings on paper.
Principal Pamela Lee remembers them well.
"Their smiles and their loving, kind ways. They were always smiling. They were always happy," she said.