New Port Richey, Florida -- A holiday tragedy is unfolding in New Port Richey, where twin 3-year-olds were killed in a Monday morning house fire.
Neighbor Kristy Holt broke down in tears, mourning for the young lives that she and her neighbors could not save.
Micah and Miah Shaver, fraternal twins, were trapped by fire and smoke inside their Wabayo Street mobile home in Moon Lake.
"I tried to go in through the back window and it was too smoky and I needed a flashlight or something to see," said Holt, "and I saw the back of the couch sizzling."
Holt and other neighbors say they were puzzled by the twins' mother, 30-year-old Shannon Garza. They say Garza seemed almost dazed as she clutched a garden hose, spraying the front door with water. The flames were overtaking the house as others struggled desperately to bust through windows and gates, said Holt.
"I said, 'Where's your babies?' And she said, 'I don't know where my babies are.' I said, 'What do you mean you don't know where your babies are?'"
Minutes later, as the first Pasco deputy arrived, the enormity of the tragedy had apparently sunk in.
Sheriff Chris Nocco described Garza's reaction much differently.
"The mother was outside, hysterical, screaming that her two babies were inside the house," said Nocco.
Deputies say the heat and smoke were just too intense to reach the children. When Pasco Fire Rescue arrive they tried, but Chief Buck Davidson says it was too late.
"Despite what was a very valiant effort, unfortunately the children perished," said Davidson.
In the hours that passed, a long line of friends and relatives arrived, breaking down in tears and collapsing into each other's arms for support.
Neighbors describe the twins as fun, energetic and affectionate.
Kaylee Roach, 14, is friends with the twins' older siblings, 12-year-old Joseph and 13-year-old Yolanda. The two had already left for school when the fire started.
Kaylee says the twins were cute.
"They were like my brother and sisters, because they were, like, hugging on me and stuff," she said, "I really liked them a lot."
Sheriff Nocco did not speculate early as to the cause of the fire, but said it was a painful loss for the entire community.
"There's no words that can ever take away the pain that they're going through right now," said Nocco, "I can only ask that people pray for the two little 3-year-olds that died this morning."
Garza was taken to Bayonet Point hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Investigators say the fire appears to have started somewhere near the children's bedroom, but the cause was still under investigation.