A widowed mother of five died a hero after running into her burning house in Bakersfield, California, to save her children.
Kristina Stratton, a 38-year-old widowed mother, was outside her home with one of her daughters just before midnight on Feb. 7.
Seeing her house engulfed in flames, Stratton rushed inside and tried to reach her four children sleeping upstairs.
She woke up the children and they were able to escape by jumping out a second-story window. They suffered minor to moderate injuries and were taken to the hospital.
Tragically, firefighters found Stratton dead inside the home.
Stratton’s husband, Eric Stratton, died from cancer in 2014.
Eric Stratton was the father of three of the children, who now have no living parents.
Pastor and family friend Angelo Frazier told KERO-TV that family and friends have tried to salvage what belongings they can from the Stratton home.
“It’s just unspeakable heartbreak to have to do something like that when you lose a loved one, so you can just imagine the raw emotions that are there,” Frazier said.
“She had a lot of people who loved her. She loved her kids, her family, God. She loved life. She was just that kind of person.”
All five children have moved in with Stratton’s sister, Sarah Parks, who is married with children.
“My sister just did what any mom would do, protecting her children,” said Parks. “She’s my hero. I hope I could be half the woman she is.”
Community organizations are collecting clothing and gift cards on behalf of the family.
Monetary donations have been pouring in to assist with funeral expenses and to help Parks and her husband expand their home to accommodate five extra kids.
“She had a lot of people who loved her,” Frazier said. “She loved her kids, her family, God. She loved life. She was just that kind of person.”