Family describes deadly fire as a nightmare

The Leander family that lost a seven month old child in a tragic house fire is speaking out. The Justus family tells FOX 7 they are overwhelmed by the support they have received so far.

Danny Justus lived in a one bedroom apartment attached to his son's mobile home. On Monday morning he woke up to his son screaming and saw the orange glow of the fire coming from the house.

"My son was on the back patio saying my son is inside and I can't get to him," said Danny Justus. Justus managed to escape and was treated for smoke inhalation. He knows his son Jerob did everything he could to reach his youngest son Ian.

"He busted a window out of a bathroom and got his family out and then tried to get back through and the room was engulfed and he was crawling on his hands and knees. He was devastated," described Justus.

"To lose him the way we lost him is so hard. My brother tried to save him and so did Amanda," explained Kelly Justus Garza. Garza says her brother and sister-in-law were injured trying to reach Ian. Both are being treated in San Antonio hospitals.

Investigators say a space heater caused a fire that destroyed the family's mobile home. Justus, his son and daughter-in-law and two of their children managed to escape.

"I feel the grief losing a grandson but I don't know what it would be like losing a son. He's stressed beyond belief," said Justus. He and his daughter are focused on getting their loved ones out of the hospital.

"Physically they are recovering and being treated for smoke inhalation. Mentally and emotionally they are not okay. All they can do is cry," said Garza.

"There's hope. There is hope. We're going to deal with a lot of grief and we're going to have moments where you can't stop shaking but we have hope this is going to pass and we're going to heal," said Justus.

They are leaning on the community and welcome prayers from all over.

"The kid had a smile and you couldn't help but smile," Justus lovingly recalls about Ian. While their hearts are broken they know Ian is still smiling.

"He just had a light. He's gone. I know where he's at. He's in heaven," said Garza.

The community is stepping up to help the Justus family pick up the pieces. The First Baptist Church of Leander opened its doors Tuesday to accept donations. They are taking any items the family may need and plan on working with other churches in the area.

"What they're going to have to face even when they get out of the hospital at least this is something to give them a little peace and help," said Pastor Charles Murphy.

"I would hope that they understand and know that even though there's not much comfort in it but I'm one of the many praying for them," said Kristelle Shaw who dropped off some of the first donations.

The Williamson County Sheriff's Office Victims Assistance Unit is also helping coordinate donations. A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Justus family. To learn more, click here.

Funeral arrangements for Ian Justus are pending.

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