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Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Ruskin family remains in hospital after fire that killed 4-year-old

TAMPA — The father and siblings of a little girl who died in a Ruskin mobile home fire Friday night remained hospitalized Sunday.

Monico Carmona Jr., 30, is being treated for burns to his arms, hands, ears and chest as well as cuts he suffered trying to extract his children from a burning mobile home at Wolfs Mobile Home Park, according to Carmona's brother, Fabian Villarreal.

Carmona's 4-year-old daughter, Alejandra, died in the fire.

Villarreal said he did not know when his brother or his other two children would be released from Tampa General Hospital, but it would be soon.

Carmona's daughter, Lexi, 2, and his son Angel, 7 months, were also in the hospital being treated for minor injuries. Carmona's girlfriend, who ran from the burning home carrying her own son as well as Angel, suffered burns to her feet and was also being treated at the hospital.

The reality of Alejandra's death has set in, becoming almost unbearable for Monico Carmona, his family and neighbors.

“Everyone still finds it really horrible that he lost his daughter, Alejandra,” Villarreal said. “He's taking it pretty hard especially since he couldn't get in there to save her. The smoke caused him to collapse and it was so unbearably hot. The neighbors tried to get in and they couldn't get in. They feel horrible as well that they couldn't save her.”

About 11:30 p.m. Friday, Carmona was sleeping in bed when his girlfriend, who was at the home to celebrate Valentine's Day, woke him and said she smelled smoke. The smoke was coming from their bed, Carmona said Saturday. He said he ran and get water to pour on the bed, but the flames intensified.

He ran to get more water and on his way back to the room, his girlfriend had gathered her son and Carmona's 7-month-old son and ran from the house.

The girlfriend went back inside and also helped Carmona get his 2-year-old daughter.

The flames and smoked kept them from reaching Alejandra.

“There was nothing I could do,” Carmona said on Saturday. “It was just so hot; it was unbearable.”

A back window was broken by a neighbor who also tried to move a bunk bed in an attempt reach Alejandra.

Several friends assembled to raise funds in the Riverview and Ruskin areas Sunday. At least two car washes were held, Villarreal said. The money will be used to help pay for Alejandra's funeral, which has not been planned, he said.

Villarreal said his brother will likely stay with their mother at her Riverview home when he is released from the hospital.

“I'm trying to stay strong for my brother,” Villarreal said. “We're trying to make sure he doesn't see the house. He refuses to see the house. He doesn't even want to see a trailer again anymore.

“We're trying to avoid the subject because it's too much for him to handle right now.”

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