HENDERSON, N.C. -- Two children were killed in a house fire in Vance County on Monday night.
The incident happened just before 10 p.m. on Elizabeth Street in Henderson. Firefighters say the back of the home was engulfed in flames when they arrived, making it impossible to reach the children inside.
Now, Fannie Lewis is dealing with the unimaginable: the loss of two of her grandchildren.
"My children [are] my life; I wish it had been me instead of them," said the grieving grandmother as she and family members gathered around the burned-out home that her son and his wife had lived at for over 10 years. The fire chief says witnesses stated the two parents were at the store when the fire began.
"She always got a smile, and she didn't mind telling you she loved you," Lewis said of 12-year-old Abria, who perished in the fire along with her 1-year-old brother, Chase.
"He was the love of my life, too," Lewis said. "He just turned one, he was fat and happy go-lucky."
As she sifts through pictures found in the rubble, Lewis had a lot of unanswered questions about what happened Monday night. However, through her sadness she is blessed that her 16-year-old and 9-year-old grandchildren were able to escape.
Henderson fire officials said the blaze began and was contained to one of the back bedrooms -- where the two children were trapped. Firefighters were unable to reach them.
The family is still having a difficult time just hours after the blaze -- including 8-year-old Dominique Lewis, who spent a lot of time with Abria.
"We were like sisters; we were best cousins," she said.
The Henderson Arson Task Force and the SBI have been called in to investigate. No word yet on what caused the fire, but officials say a space heater was in the room where the fire is said to have started.
Fire officials do not suspect foul play at this time.