The Daily Beast
These Three Siblings Died Tragically in Texas’ Deep Freeze. It Didn’t Have to Be This Way.
Courtesy Vanessa Kon At 11 years previous, Olivia Nguyen was the oldest of three siblings. She was sensible and sassy, and beloved making playlists with songs from Coldplay and U2, music written earlier than she was born.Her brother, Edison, 8, was quiet and articulate. He beloved the coloration inexperienced and taking photographs of something in his path, particularly sunsets.Their youngest sibling, Colette, turned all the things into a music. Nicknamed Coco, the 5-year-old was recognized for donning sparkly pink clothes and footwear.Early Tuesday morning, the youngsters and their grandmother, 75-year-old Loan Le, misplaced their lives when their Texas residence erupted in flames. The deadly blaze could have started from a hearth—which their mom had lit up to maintain them heat amid the state’s energy outages and freezing chilly temperatures.The Nguyen youngsters and their grandma Loan are amongst greater than 30 folks in the Lonestar State who died this week amid the excessive climate disaster that almost decimated the state’s energy grid.Before the fireplace, the household was with out energy for eight hours and huddled collectively of their two-story home in Sugar Land, a suburb of Houston. It’s unclear how the blaze unfold; the bedrooms are upstairs and the hearth is downstairs.Vanessa Kon, the youngsters’s aunt, stated the household is awaiting solutions on what started the home fireplace. While they’re centered on mourning the children, additionally they have questions for state officers who have been woefully unprepared for the unprecedented catastrophe, which left thousands and thousands of residents with out warmth, electrical energy, or water.“We don’t know what happened,” Kon advised The Daily Beast. “We don’t know why the lights went out like that. The city should have been prepared for it. Why was the power off? If the power wasn’t off, this wouldn’t have happened.”According to Fox 26 in Houston, authorities have been known as to the Nguyen residence round 2 a.m. and located the home engulfed in flames once they arrived. One fireplace official stated a first responder had to restrain the youngsters’s mom, Jackie, from dashing again inside the residence.The youngsters’s father, Nathan Nguyen, is separated from Jackie and lives in one other residence in Sugar Land.Kon and her siblings have been comforting Nathan at his home all through the week and on Saturday. The residence, as soon as so devoted to Olivia, Edison, and Colette, now appeared empty.The partitions are coated in work he made with the youngsters. One room has a assortment of totally different paints and canvases so they may make artwork collectively. The fridge has three tubs of butter as a result of all of them beloved baking cookies. In Colette’s bed room, a mermaid costume rested on the mattress, together with a pair of dolls.Kon stated Nathan purchased matching footwear for himself and his little ones, and he enjoyed carrying matching swim trunks with Edison.“Everything is about the kids,” Kon stated of Nguyen, 41, who’s a beloved household doctor in a small-town close by known as Wharton. “It’s so devastating.”Kon stated Nguyen is in the course of of divorcing Jackie however had custody of the children each weekend or generally extra, particularly in the summer season. He final noticed them about a week earlier than they died and was planning on choosing them up on Friday.But on Tuesday morning, Jackie’s brother known as with soul-crushing information: There was a fireplace and all three of his infants didn’t make it. Jackie and a feminine buddy who was staying over had escaped the inferno with minor burns.“My brother was like, ‘What is this? A joke?’ He didn’t believe it,” Kon stated.“It’s just so sad,” she added. “He only had three [kids]. All three are gone.”“I really want someone to take this pain away from him, you know. It’s just unbearable for him. It’s so surreal. I can’t believe it’s happening,” Kon advised The Daily Beast.Kon stated Nathan is a shining instance of a father. She’s by no means seen him yell or elevate his voice; he’s extremely affected person. Last week, he stopped by three totally different eating places so all the children acquired what they wished for lunch. “He’s that dad,” Kon stated. “He would always plan stuff with them. Always do something. It’s not like they’re sitting at home, doing nothing. He takes vacation with each of his kids separately.”Now Nathan is planning for a funeral—and the weeks and months that come subsequent.He hopes to arrange a tuition help fund for St. Laurence Catholic School, the place his children attended elementary faculty and a place that they beloved.Kon organized a GoFundMe web page to assist plant the seeds of the faculty basis.Meanwhile, Jackie’s classmates at Rice University’s enterprise faculty created one other GoFundMe web page to assist her and future charity in the youngsters’s names.In a message from Jackie that was posted on the web page, the grieving mother stated she wished to create a basis with themes that might “reflect the kids’ as individuals,” together with: efficiency visible arts, autism consciousness, and studying and literacy.“At the end of the day, we want this all to mean something, and that your kind intentions are also honored in a meaningful and lasting way,” she stated. “Our hearts are broken right now. However, your acts of kindness have given us some comfort to pull us through.”Both Jackie and Loan have been devoted to the youngsters.Loan beloved being shut to her grandkids and was actively concerned of their lives. She could possibly be present in quite a few Facebook photographs with Jackie and the youngsters—together with proudly posing with them at St. Laurence Catholic School for Grandparents’ Day. She was additionally usually pictured along with her son, David Pham, and his children.In October, Loan shared photos of herself and the two sets of grandkids on social media. Edison and Olivia held a pillow with the phrase “family.”https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=2513820698910859&set=a.1378592475767026Read extra at The Daily Beast.Get our high tales in your inbox day-after-day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the tales that matter to you. Learn extra.