3 Children Pass Away in One Week; Cle Elum Community Grieves - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

3 Children Pass Away in One Week; Cle Elum Community Grieves

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CLE ELUM, WA. -- The small community of Cle Elum was devastated to learn that two young children were taken from them when their home was engulfed in flames Friday. The community has banded together and shown their strength.

United we stand took on new meaning in Cle Elum Saturday. Downtown became the only fitting memorial for two lives cut short just blocks away.

"Devastated, the whole town was devastated," Debbie Willette said.

Despite arriving just 60 seconds after the first 9-1-1 call, firefighters could not get inside a burning building that took the lives of two boys under the age of 5-years-old.

"It was heartbreaking," neighbor Marshall Stewart says. "At that young of age they had a long future ahead of them."

But that wasn't the only loss Cle Elum was grieving. Just two days before a 7-year-old suffocated to death after a pile of sand collapsed on top of him outside his home.

"It's like a double punch," Willette says. "When it happens in a small community, it's crushing."

Fire marshals from both Kittitas and Yakima County shifted through the ashes for clues today. The family's pastor says the community sill has hope.

"A good thing I've noticed in a small town like Cle Elum," Pastor Worth Wilson said, "is that people rally to their neighbors and show that they love and they care for them and they support them. And you can't buy that."

Hope is uniting the community behind two grieving families.

The American Red Cross is now taking care of the family while fire investigators search for answers.

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