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Classmates Grieve the Loss of 2 Students Killed in South Sacramento House Fire

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SOUTH SACRAMENTO --

In front of a burned home, bright balloons sway in the air above a cluster of candles and stuffed animals.  A tribute to two young lives lost when a South Sacramento home caught fire.

Two miles away, Union House elementary students went back to class without first-grader Israel and sixth-grader Ire.

"It just hurt me to see my own child grieve," said Nickco Valdez.

Valdez said her 11 year-old daughter Coraya barely slept knowing her classmate is suddenly gone.

"It was very emotional. Every time someone mentioned her I cried," said Coraya Bueno.

The tears in the classroom were met with support from a team of grief counselors.

"They were frightened, they were crying, they were just feeling the loss, feeling the sadness," said Elk Grove Unified School District  Psychologist Liz Padilla Lively.

Counselors helped students work through unfamiliar emotions.

"They told me to just think of the happy memories we had in school while I'm just sitting across from her desk," Bueno said.

Coraya remembers a happy memory from Monday, which ended with a goodbye.  She had no idea that would be her last.

"We were outside where the fountains are, and we were singing," then Bueno said Ire told her, "'Bye friend, I'll see you tomorrow' were the last words I heard from her."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.  It's also unknown if the home had working smoke detectors.​