Father recalls daughter's final moments, effort to save her from house fire

Nadine El Seik hid in bathtub, trying to escape flames

SAN ANTONIO – The parents of a little girl who died after her house caught fire over the weekend said their daughter died while trying to escape the flames.

Girl, 6, pulled from burning NW Side home dies in hospital

Nadine El Seik, 6, was one of the two children pulled from the fire off South Village Drive on the city's Northwest Side.

Her family said she died Monday night at the hospital from smoke inhalation. She celebrated her sixth birthday on Oct. 21.

"Her jacket, my baby," P.J. El Seik, Nadine's father, said as he walked through what was left of his daughter's room on Tuesday.

"She's so loving, so disciplined," said El Seik. "She loves her school, her teachers, her friends. She's so giving. She's so sharing. She's full of smiles."

El Seik said his wife woke him up on Sunday morning, telling him the house was on fire, but they were trapped in their bedroom and could not get to their son or daughter.

"My first instinct was to get to my kids, but I can't open the door," El Seik said. "When you tried to open it, it was as if it was sealed."

He broke a window to get out and ran around the house to get to his kids, but they couldn't find them.

"My wife said she can hear our daughter say, ‘Mommy!’ We couldn't get to her," he said.

Firefighters found Nadine in the bathtub and her brother in his room. They pulled both children out.
"That's what they teach you in school. You go hide in the bathroom, in the bathtub, if something bad is happening, but this is fire,” El Seik said. “She didn't know any better."

El Seik said Nadine had been talking about heaven all last week and, on Saturday, right before the fire, she talked to her dad about it one last time.

"She looked at me and said, ‘Dad, I want to go to heaven,’" he said. "And I said, ‘Yeah, but not right now. Hopefully, when you're over a 100 years old,’ (and) she said, ‘No, I want to go now.’
Little kids, they are angels. They see what we cannot see."

Nadine's older brother remains in the hospital. The cause of the fire has not been determined.


About the Author:

Stephanie Serna is a weekday anchor on Good Morning San Antonio and GMSA at 9 a.m. She joined the KSAT 12 News team in November 2009 as a general assignments reporter.