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Go Fund Me Heid family
An Indiana community is mourning the loss of two young girls who were killed in a fire that broke out at their family home.
Police arrived at the scene of the house fire just before 2:30 a.m. on Friday, according to a statement from the Clinton County Sheriff's Office. Upon arrival, a deputy who was aware that "two children were trapped inside" entered the smoke-filled home, but was not able to locate them.
The parents also attempted to go back inside to rescue their daughters, "but they were unsuccessful," Rossville Fire Chief Aron Fife told local Fox affiliate WXIN.
While battling the blaze, the Indiana family's home became "fully engulfed" by flames, authorities said in a statement.
"Firefighters from the Rossville Fire Department quickly began working the fire and attempting to gain entry into the home," read the statement from the Clinton County Sheriff's Office. "The home became fully engulfed and required the response of mutual aid from surrounding agencies."
Once inside, first responders found the bodies of a 12-year-old girl and 5-year-old girl, identified by family as Shea and Amelia Heid.
Their parents, Brandon and Telia Heid, were able to escape the blaze alongside the couple's youngest daughter, according to WXIN.
"This is one of those incidents as a parent and a first responder, you dread. We are all praying for the family and offering our support to all responders involved," Sheriff Rich Kelly wrote in a statement.
According to a spokesperson for the Indiana State Fire Marshal's office, which is investigating, no evidence suggests foul play, reported WXIN.
The girls both died from accidental smoke inhalation, according to autopsy reports from the Clinton County Coroner.
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Family member Jesse Knoth-Harrington, who lives next door, told ABC affiliate WRTV that he watched in horror as the flames consumed the Heid's home.
"I screamed and woke everyone up," recalled Knoth-Harrington, the girls' uncle. He went on to describe the flames as "two times as tall as the house."
"I just can't believe that this happened to them — they were so loving and so sweet. They didn't deserve this," he added. "Everybody is going to need time to heal and everybody will need to rebuild but those lives will never be replaced."
Following the tragedy, a GoFundMe page was set up to help the family get back on their feet.
"The pain that Brandon and Telia must be enduring is unimaginable," wrote Ashley Smith, who organized the fundraiser on behalf of Pride Lafayette, Inc. — for which Knoth-Harrington serves as treasurer.
"We at Pride are raising money for this family, although we do not know them personally," Smith continued. "We would like to help with the burden of funeral costs and anything else they may need. If you have ever met Jesse, you know he would drop everything to help. He has done many fundraisers for other organizations in town including ours. Our hearts go out to Jesse and his family."
As of Monday afternoon, the GoFundMe has raised over $44,000.