UPDATE: Donations pour in for family who lost two children in Walker Co. fire
By WRCB Staff
WALKER COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -
UPDATE: Donations are pouring in for a Walker County family who lost two children and their home in a fire on Tuesday.
The fire happened at a mobile home on Carabou Lane in Chickamauga.
People in the Walker County community have opened up their hearts to a family that's coping with overwhelming loss.
Clothes, shoes, toys, toiletries, and household items lined tables inside Saddle Ridge Elementary and Middle School.
"The community is rallying around this precious family and dealing with this horrible time, so it's just touched my heart," Principal Wendy Ingram of Saddle Ridge Elementary and Middle School said.
Ingram said the support she's seen is incredible.
She said three of the family's children attended the school including Nataleigh Long, the first grader, who died.
The school sent a letter home to parents encouraging them to talk with their children about what happened.
It was a tough conversation for Andria Hester to have with her daughter.
"Even though i didn't personally know them, it still touches me because I do have a daughter and it could have been us, heaven forbid," Andria Hester, a parent said.
On Wednesday, counselors and a therapy dog were on campus for anyone who needed to grieve.
Many of the children wrote cards for the family. Parents brought in baskets and bags full of donations.
"I know that they need as much help as they can get right now especially in these immediate days," Hester said.
They hope this will help ease the family's pain and show compassion as they deal with heartbreak.
"I know that our community making the statements by bringing things here is just going to make them feel more supported," Ingram said.
Saddle Ridge Elementary and Middle School is taking up donations for the family. They're primarily asking for clothes, shoes, canned and non-perishable foods. However, they're also accepting toys, toiletries, and household items.
The following are clothing sizes for the family if you would like to help:
Dad - 36 pant, XXL shirt, 10/11 shoe
Mom - Size 3 pants, medium top
Daughter - Size 12
Son - Size 6
Daughter - Size 6
Those who want to donate can drop off the items at Saddle Ridge Elementary and Middle School located at 9858 US-27, Rock Spring, GA. You're asked to call the school ahead of time at (706) 375-1219.
A member of the family has also set up a GoFund Me account. They have given Channel 3 the permission to put the account link on our website. If you would like to help, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/23hqkscs
PREVIOUS STORY: Walker County officials have identified the two young victims in the Tuesday morning fire as six-year-old Nataleigh Long and Jocelin Long, eight months old.
Three other children were inside the residence were able to escape the fire. Sheriff Wilson identified the children as a 9-year old girl, 7-year old girl, 4-year old.
The Walker County Sheriff credits the father, Richard A. Long, of those children and one of his own deputies as they pulled three of the children out of a broken window moments before firefighters arrived. But the rescue efforts didn't stop there as crews put their own lives on the line to pull the remaining children out of this burning home.
"They kept making that attempt. They wouldn't come out," said Randy Camp.
Men who've seen a lot are visibly shaken as they put out hot spots. This is where they say smoke claimed the lives of two and sent five others to the hospital.
"It's very difficult. It's a terrible terrible thing to lose anyone in a fire but moreover when it's an infant and a child," said Camp
Walker County Emergency Services Chief, Randy Camp says an 8 month old was found in a crib and a six year old was found in the corner of a room.
Camp says crews worked so hard to reach the children One firefighter burned his face.
"It's just in you when you when you know it's a child. You do everything you can to make it and they did reach them. It was very courageous but unfortunately it had a bad outcome," said Camp.
Three other children made it out of the home due to the quick thinking of their father. Sheriff, Steve Wilson says one of his deputies helped the father pull the children out of a broken window.
"From what were being told at this point, I'd say the father was instrumental in bringing these three children that survived out of the home," said Sheriff Wilson.
Those three children and their parents are still in the hospital Tuesday night, they are being treated for severe smoke inhalation.
Officials say the fire started on a couch in the living room as the result of an unattended scented candle.
PREVIOUS STORY: Two children, a six-year-old and an eight-month-old baby, have lost their lives in an early-morning mobile home fire near Chickamauga according to the Walker County Fire Department.
Seven people were in the home at the time; two adults and five children. Two of the children died.
The five were transported to Erlanger for examination and treatment. A firefighter was also injured trying to help rescue the children.
The fire started about 6:00am in the mobile home, according to fire officials.
The father broke out the windows to try and save the children, and was assisted by a Walker County deputy.
An eight-month-old child was in their crib; the six-year-old was found in a corner of the home.
One firefighter has minor burns to his face from rescue attempts. Refused to come out until kids were out. @WRCB