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Mother, teenage son die in Arcadia fire

Firefighters look for cause from Friday morning fire as loves ones mourn
Posted at 8:03 PM, Jan 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-19 20:03:12-05

ARCADIA, Fla. — A tragic morning for Arcadia after a house fire early Friday morning claimed the lives of a mother and her 14-year old son. A co-worker of the mother, Becky-Sue Mercer, said she’s never going to forget her friend. “We’re going to miss her terribly - it’s just unbelievable,” Mercer said.

The mother, whose name has not been released, worked alongside Mercer at the Arcadia Housing Authority, where she was known for her generosity and willingness to help others.

“She’d do anything for you - do anything to help you. The Housing Authority family is obviously devastated,” Mercer added.

Mercer also knew the young boy - saying he was so respectful for his age and always kind to everyone. Now, all that’s left are the memories - a growing memorial on the front steps filled with flowers and balloons, and a charred home.

DeSoto County Fire Chief Chad Jorgensen recounted the intensity of the fire. "First on scene units saw flames through the roof," Jorgensen said. The fire on SW Hereford Street was so intense that made fighting it difficult. "Just so much fire - two of the firefighters went through the floor looking for them. They were in the most heavily involved portion of the house," Jorgensen elaborated.

After the fire was brought under control, they found the mother and her son. The Desoto School District, where the boy attended Desoto Middle School, released a statement to Fox 4 expressing deep sadness over the loss, which has affected the entire school.

The mother is survived by three daughters and four grandsons. Her death, along with that of her son, has left a community still trying to comprehend the loss.

"It's a small town, and a devastating loss like this really hurts and affects everyone. Even if you didn't know the family - it hurts," Mercer said.

Jorgensen said the fire started on the right side of the house, but still don’t know what caused it - ultimately taking the life of a mother and her young son.