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      Fatal Fire Leaves Two Dead

      "It could have been her in there," Erika Perez said, visibly shaken, after seeing what remained of her best friend's house. Just the day before, they were making plans to go to the mall.

      "I thought it was only half of the house, but its gone."

      Only the walls remained standing after the fire broke out at around 4:30 in the morning on the 1200 block of Valley View Drive in Weslaco.

      Perez' best friend was not in the house, but the mother, 46-year-old Melva Martinez, and two boys, ages 12 and 7, were.

      "They didn TMt deserve this," she said.

      Martinez and her 12-year-old son were not able to make it out of the burning home, but firefighters were able to save the 7-year-old boy. Since the fire, he was taken to the hospital and released. He was sent to his aunt TMs house. "It TMs a real tragedy for the neighborhood, for the community, for the family, George Garrett, spokesman for the City of Weslaco, said. Our most heartfelt sympathies go out with them."

      He said the cause of the fire is still unknown and that an investigation could take several days. But in the meantime, Perez said her best friend needs her now, more than ever.

      "I don TMt wanna see her cry, and I know she will, she said, holding back tears. So I need to be strong for her, to be there for her."