House Fire in Winona

Aftermath of a house where a fire occurred in Winona where three children and an adult died on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.

The Smith County Fire Marshal's Office has identified the three children who died in a Monday house fire in Winona. 

On Friday, Smith County Fire Marshal Jay Brooks identified the three children as 5-year-old boy Elyja Anthony Damé Newman; 2-year-old boy Travis Everrette Harris; and 1-year-old girl Saphira Khalessi Rose Harris.

On Tuesday, Brooks identified their mother as Brittany Stewart, 24. The fire was reported in the 18400 block of Devonne Drive, off of U.S. Highway 271, in the Starrville area of Smith County, at 11:30 a.m. Monday.

“The Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office is committed to getting answers for the family of Ms. Stewart and her children as to what happened in this tragic fire,” Brooks said.

A detailed scene investigation was conducted on Thursday.

“At this time the Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office is awaiting results from forensic lab testing before releasing its origin and cause of this fatal fire,” Brooks said. “Our hearts go out to the families of Ms. Stewart and her three beautiful children, as well as Mr. Harris.”

The father of the younger children, Edwin Harris, 31, survived the fire and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. 

Harris' brother, Eddie Harris, set up a Go Fund Me page to help Edwin after the loss of his family. The fundraiser has a goal of $50,000 and it has raised over $5,300 as of Friday. 

On Monday, a volunteer White Oak firefighter who was in the area stopped to help Harris who was attempting to put the fire out and rescue family members inside the burning home.

Fire Departments from Winona, Lindale, Red Springs, Jackson Heights, Flint-Gresham and Gladewater, as well as members of the command staff from Emergency Services District 2 and the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the fire, which took firefighters about three hours to extinguish.

Brooks encouraged people to check their smoke detectors to make sure they are working.

“Smoke detectors save lives,” he said. “Especially during this time of year when people use space heaters, wood burning stoves and other heating devices to stay warm. We want everyone to have smoke detectors and make sure they are working to stay safe.”

Multimedia Journalist

I came to the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 2019. I report on crime, courts, breaking news and various events in Tyler and East Texas.