Victims identified as FHS sophomores
An early morning fire on Sunday at a local apartment complex claimed the lives of two Fredericksburg High School students.
Fredericksburg Fire Department and Fredericksburg Police Department teams discovered two bodies at Ten19 at Friendship Lane after being dispatched at about 5:10 a.m. Sunday. Callers advised they smelled smoke coming from within the 200 building.
The victims were FHS sophomores Azalyia Hernandez, age 15, and Eliza Maurer, 16, both of Fredericksburg. Preliminary autopsy results pointed to probable cause of death being smoke inhalation, said Fredericksburg Police Chief Steve Wetz. The apartment was rented by Mary Saenz, who was gone at the time, Wetz said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the State Fire Marshal and several witnesses are still being interviewed to determine the hours leading up to the blaze.
FHS Principal Joe Gonzalez was notified of the deaths by FPD Officer Chris Ayala.
“There is no good way to find out something like this, but it’s best to hear it from an officer rather than on social media,” he said.
Gonzalez had nothing but good things to say about the two students, noting their positive attitudes.
“Any time you saw the girls, they were always with friends and they always had bright smiles on their faces,” Gonzalez said. “They would always look for the positive side of things, even during this whole year with the pandemic.”
For those who need assistance, Gonzalez said a school crisis team has been set up.
“Please don’t hesitate to email me, call the school or email your counselor and we will offer assistance,” he said.
Gonzalez also noted FHS will keep families updated on opportunities for celebrations of life.