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House fire kills 13-year-old girl, puts mother and brother in the hospital

Posted at 6:34 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 18:34:42-04

ARCADIA — A house fire killed a 13-year-old girl in Arcadia, and her mother and brother are recovering in the hospital.

According to Paul Mee, who lives next door, the girl made it to safety by climbing through one of the windows in the house, but the family still had five dogs trapped inside. She ran back inside to try to save them, but she never made it out.

Public Safety Director Chad Jorgensen said, when crews arrived, the fire was already out of control.

"They arrived on-scene to find the structure fully-involved. Flames through the roof, flames coming out the doors," said Jorgensen.

Mee said he came outside when he heard the commotion, just before 3:00 a.m.

"It really stuns you. I opened that door up and I thought oh no," said Mee.

Mee said, as fire crews used four hoses to put out the flames, they told him to keep an eye out for the 13-year-old girl. They didn’t realize she had gone back into the building.

"She loved the pets. They had five dogs, and she bolted to go back in to attempt to save an animal," said Jorgensen.

"That little girl was really close with that dogs. I guess that’s why she went back in. That’s more or less I guess an instinct thing," said Mee.

When fire crews were able to get inside, they found the girl next to one of the dogs.

Now, as the girl’s brother and mother recover from burns in the hospital, we’ve learned a community organization called the Bulldog Strong Foundation is trying to help the family.

"Whatever people are willing to donate to us. I mean if they give us dressers, we’ll take dressers. We can, we’ll take anything. Beds, sheets, towels, food," said Rosa Stainbrook, who volunteers with the organization.

Jorgensen said he’s reached out to the family as well, and hopes in time they can heal.

"I feel for the family, I feel for everybody that responded. Hopefully, with the grace of God, people will do better," said Jorgensen.

We learned the girl’s brother got his injuries because he ran into the house to try to save his sister when she didn’t come back out.

The fire marshal has not yet figured out what caused the fire.