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Neighbors and family friends remember little girl killed in KCK fire

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-09 19:18:12-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Neighbors and family friends held a vigil Monday for the 4-year-old who died trapped inside a townhouse during a fire Saturday in Kansas City, Kansas.

They've also created a makeshift memorial for Jatzyri Estala Ortiz.

"Within seconds it was a blast and it was a big ball of fire in the back," Amelia Torres, a family friend, said.

Torres and her husband, Cesar, said they watched as the flames jumped from a carport into the unit where Jatzyri lived with her family.

"The first thing that comes to my mind is like everybody died over there because it was really bad, it was an explosion," Cesar Torres said.

Neighbor Gwen Bell told 41 Action News Jatzyri's brother escaped through a first-floor window while Jatzyri’s older sister gave the others a fighting chance.

"She broke one of the windows. She said 'catch my baby.' The brother didn't catch the baby--I don't know what was wrong with him--but I ended up pushing him out of the way and I jumped up there and caught her baby," Bell said. "The other little sister came and she jumped out the window, some guys caught her jumping, so I looked around and where's the little itty bitty one at? And she hollered ‘She's upstairs! She's upstairs in the bedroom! In the bedroom!'"

The KCK Fire Department said there was a language barrier for the first wave of firefighters at the scene.

"She's telling them, ‘Go get my baby, go get my baby,’ and the fire department looked at her like in confusion and that's when they took her out," Amelia Torres said.

The 4-year-old girl died in a back bedroom inside the townhouse that KCKFD said did not have smoke detectors.

"My grandbaby don't know what's going on. All she knows is that this house caught fire, so I can imagine how she's going to be when she finds out she's gone -- that her playmate is gone," Bell said.

"We're all family, our grandkids hang out, we watch them, we take them to the waterpark. We are a family here and we've lost a family member," Amelia Torres said.

Jatzyri's father and brother were arrested during Saturday's fire.

They're currently being held on outstanding warrants. As of Monday afternoon, there's no word if they will face any charges in connection with the deadly fire.

The little girl's sisters and cousin remain in the hospital as the investigation continues.