Arlington Mom Dies Trying to Save 7-Year-Old Daughter From House Fire

An Arlington woman died trying to save her 7-year-old daughter during a early morning house fire Tuesday.

Neighbors said they heard a man's cries for help as flames engulfed the home in the 1100 block of S. Emerson Street around 4 a.m. Bill and Mary Barkes lived there with their two daughters, ages 7 and 11, family members told News4.

Mary Barkes was outside of the home and was one of the first to call 911. She then went back inside the house to try to save her 7-year-old from an upstairs bedroom before the fire spread.

Both were then trapped by flames and later found dead, according to James White, the girls' grandfather.
Meanwhile, Bill Barkes managed to save his 11-year-old daughter by climbing a ladder, but fell off it during the rescue and injured himself. He was unable to get back inside to save his wife and younger daughter.

He and his daughter were transported to a local hospital for smoke inhalation and burns, and are in stable condition.

Santos Salvador, who lives next door, said he went outside to help after calling 911, but there was nothing he could do.

"You could see a big flame coming from inside the door. If you were or anybody was going in there, it was going to kill right away because you could feel the heat," Salvador said.

The flames were also too intense for fire crews and prevented them from entering the home through the front door or using a ladder. Overall, seventy firefighters responded to the home.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire officials say there were no working smoke detectors inside the home and urge residents to make sure their smoke alarms are working.

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