The fire broke out in the early morning hours of Saturday as 31-year-old Giovanna Cabrera and her three children were inside their home in north Houston.
According to authorities, Cabrera was able to get her six-year-old daughter and her nine-year-old son out of the home before she returned to save little Gabriel, aged one.
Cabrera and her youngest son died in the fire and their remains were located inside the home after the fire was extinguished.
“The mother rescued two of her children from a house fire but died while trying to save her baby boy. We are working to make sure this family has the support they need in their time of grief,” Houston Mayor John Whitmire said in a Facebook post.
Cabrera’s sister, Giselle Bueno, told KTRK that the mother-of-three died while holding her baby in her arms. Ms Bueno said the home had been completely left destroyed in the fire and that the smoke likely prevented her sister from making it to safety a second time.
“I know that she had to save her babies, like I can only imagine how scared she was,” Ms Bueno told the outlet. “She had him in her arms like the baby, so I know she tried. I know if she could’ve, she would have made it out.”
An investigation has been launched into what caused the fire, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña told reporters.
“How do you tell that to a mother whose child is inside the home?” Chief Peña said, noting that fire victims are always advised to remain outside once they’ve made it out of the blaze.
Cabrera’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help pay for funeral services and to help the two surviving children and other family members.