Coroner performs autopsy on 8-year-old twins killed in Gretna fire

Coroner performs autopsy on 8-year-old twins killed in Gretna fire

GRETNA, LA (WVUE) - A Gretna family is devastated today over the loss of twin 8-year-old girls in a fire which has also left four families homeless.

Estephania and Fernanda Mendoza were killed Sunday after being trapped inside their duplex in the 2300 block of Lafayette Street. Neighbors say the fire appeared to have started in the kitchen area. Two other children were rescued.

"They're cute little girls, both blind. It's horrible for something like that to happen to them," said neighbor Robert Lemle.

Friends and family are reaching out tonight, to help the Albarez family deal with their loss. A makeshift memorial has sprung up and friends have set up an account at Chase Bank to help out.

The fire spread quickly from one duplex to another, causing severe damage. Neighbors say it spread in large part due to high winds.

Of the four families who lost everything in the fire, only one had renter's insurance.

"Yes, and I was getting ready to cancel it," said neighbor and fire victim Sheryl West.

Estephania, and Fernanda  were classmates of Margaret McKenzie's son.

"They're beautiful, and they were sweet and kind," McKenzie said.

And as a family tries to cope with unimaginable loss, neighbors struggle to move on.

Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich performed an autopsy on the twins Monday. He says they died from burns and smoke inhalation.

Three agencies are participating in the investigation into the fire. So far, no cause has been revealed.

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