Ind. Community Rallies Around Mom Whose 3 Children Died in House Fire: 'Absolutely Heartbreaking'
An Indiana mother is in mourning after she lost all three of her children in a house fire over the weekend.
Laura Gingerich's daughters, Miracle, 6, and Wilma, 18 months, and son Steven, 5, were all tragically killed in the Miami County blaze on Saturday, NBC affiliate WTHR reported.
Though the mom of three was inside the Kokomo home at the time of the incident, she could not reach her children and managed to escape the blaze, according to the outlet.
Jake and Wilma Kauffman, the children's grandparents who also lived in the home, survived the fire as well, though it was unclear if they were inside when the flames broke out, WTHR reported.
In the wake of the tragedy, the community has been rallying around the family and supporting them during this difficult time by collecting donations and setting up a GoFundMe page.
"The event that took place this weekend was absolutely heartbreaking for all of those who knew the Gingerich family," Maconaquah Schools wrote on Facebook. "It is travesties such as this that really make you lean on your community."
According to WTHR, firefighters responded to the incident around 11:04 a.m. on Saturday.
Laura was reportedly in a downstairs bathroom when she smelled smoke and attempted to get to her children on the second story. However, because the smoke was too heavy, the mom of three was unable to do so, the outlet reported.
Once firefighters arrived, they entered the burning home and pulled out the children — but unconscious and not breathing, they were immediately rushed to a nearby hospital, where they sadly died, according to WTHR.
The following day, the fire managed to rekindle its flames, which prompted officials to use a backhoe to rip off its tin roof, the outlet reported.
In a post on Facebook, Higher Ground Fellowship, the church that the family attended, said the second outbreak had rendered the home "a total loss" — inspiring its leaders to step up.
Marlin Beachy, the pastor of Higher Ground Fellowship, set up the GoFundMe page, noting on its description that "the money you donate to this fund is intended for whatever needs that Jake, Wilma, and Laura have after their devastating loss."
"We as a church, of course, will be there for them," Beachy told WTHR. "We will support them spiritually speaking, and practically, in every other way that we can."
So far, the page has raised over $14,000. Community members can also donate money, clothing or gift cards to the family through Maconaquah School Corporation, where the children were enrolled in school.
According to WTHR, Miracle was a kindergartener at Pipe Creek Elementary School in Peru and her brother, Steven, was a preschooler at the school.
"The love and compassion that has been poured over our Maconaquah family and the family and friends of Steven and Miracle has been incredible," the school wrote on Facebook. "We truly appreciate all of the support as we work to find healing for students and staff who have been affected by this loss."
Maconaquah Schools said counselors were available to students and staff at Pipe Creek Elementary this week to help with the grieving process.
Laura Fulton, the principal of the elementary school, told WTHR that the day was "pretty somber."
"I spent the first probably half-hour of the day in Miracle's kindergarten class with her classmates," Fulton explained. "Pretty somber, as somber as 5- and 6-year-olds can be. Her teacher, Miss Burns, shared that [Miracle] was a mother hen in the classroom and really liked to make sure and take care of the other kiddos if they needed some help."
A funeral service for the children is scheduled for this Saturday at 10 a.m. at McGrawsville United Methodist Church in Amboy, according to the school.
Those interested in donating to the family's GoFundMe page can do so here.
Donations can also be dropped off or mailed to the Maconaquah Administration Building at 7932 South Strawtown Pike, Bunker Hill, IN, 46914 with checks made out to Maconaquah School Corporation.
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