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CBS4 Exclusive: Mother Of 3 Children Killed In Fire, "I Get By With No Sleep, I Am Anxious, I Am Just Lost"

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - For the first time, a Miami mother of three children who were killed in a fire at her home on December 30th is speaking out.

"My only question is why me? Why my children? That's my only question that I have, day in and day out," said Jasmine Fernandez in an exclusive interview with CBS4's Peter D'Oench.

Fernandez and the family's attorney Carlos Silva spoke as some troubling new details emerged in an affidavit for a search warrant which raised questions about a smoke detector in the home and whether it had been somehow installed by someone after the fire and then altered to make it look like it had been in the fire.

"I get by with no sleep," said Fernandez. "I am anxious and I am just lost. I am just lost. I have done everything for my kids. I don't know how I am going to get along but I am just here. My children meant the world to me. The fact that they are not here. I have no reason to be here. It is hard. It is hard."

The fire at the home she rented at N.W. 18th Terrace And 36th took the lives of her children, 8-year-old Nainalee Lopez, 6-year-old Nomar Lopez, and 1-year-old Naziyah Fernandez. Eleven-year-old Heilyn Mejia also died in the blaze.

Fernandez spoke as she clutched the blankets belonging to her children, including one belonging to her 8-year-old daughter who died at the hospital.

With tears streaming down her face, she said, "This is the blanket that she had on so it means a lot to me. She was the last child to die. This had their scents on them. I carry them everywhere I go."

The fire happened when Fernandez was at work and while their grandmother had gone shopping at a nearby grocery store.

The 11-year-old child was watching them.

Fernandez told D'Oench she trusted her mother's judgement.

"That's my mother," she said. "I trusted her with my life. I trusted her with my children."

Family attorney Carlos Silva said, "For her to leave the kids with an 11-year-old to go out and get groceries is a normal thing that occurs every day in the U.S. This was a single mother who was getting help from her mother.

Silva is concerned about new details that emerged in an affidavit for a search warrant filed for Miami police investigators.

Police said they noticed a smoke detector that had been installed in the home that was not there before the fire. Fernandez was renting the home.

The report also said "Lt. LLanes also opined that the smoke detector that was installed post-fire was too clean to have been in the fire. The smoke detector appeared to have a couple of burn marks on it as if someone tried to make it look like it had been in the fire."

A haunting note is also revealed that the grandmother was shopping at the Presidents Supermarket at 2199 N.W. 36th St. when "she...received a phone call from the oldest child who was screaming there was a fire in the house and they were trapped inside."

Silva said, "What I think is important is to find out what caused this fire and what took the lives of those 4 kids and whether there was a defective product in the home on an electrical failure."

Miami Police and Fire Rescue are investigating along with the State Fire Marshal's office. It is not known if any charges will be filed in relation to the smoke detector.


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