By Elizabeth Fay
ROCKFORD (WREX) - An overnight fire traps a teenager and two children inside a Rockford home. Jamaya Herron, 18, died at the scene. Firefighters rescued the other kids.
It seems a candle started a fire at 2206 Clover Avenue in Rockford just before 4:00 a.m. Monday. The two parents, Joe and Delores Herron, escaped. But when firefighters arrived, their daughter and foster kids were still inside a bedroom. Rescuers got the 2 boys out. It was too late for the teenage girl. Fannie Barbee, a relative of the family says, "She was very faithful in the church. Whenever I go over there, she was a really nice person."
The Rockford Fire Department responded to the one story house. Jamaya Herron and her two younger foster brothers, ages 10 and 11, were trapped. Rescuers got to the boys through the window. They were flown to a hospital in Madison for severe smoke inhalation.
Firefighters could not lift Jamaya through the window. Investigators say she weighed more than 500 pounds. Winnebago County Coroner Sue Fiduccia says, "That did hamper the fire department and fire rescuers from taking her out a window. They did have to bring her out the door and in doing that, two firefighters we're actually injured."
By then, it was too late. The daughter of a pastor and a singer at the church died on scene. "They gave a 110%, did their best and sometimes we're not able to save everyone but we were able to get two individuals out of that structure alive," says Fire Chief Derek Bergsten.
Investigators say Jamaya died from breathing smoke. There will be an autopsy this week.
Her parents also went to the hospital for smoke inhalation. They should recover.
The firefighters hurt their backs. Chief Bergsten says they were scheduled to get checked out by doctors on Monday.
There is a memorial fund set up if you want to help the family. Just go to any Harris Bank and say it's for the Herron family.
There is also a fundraising dinner September 26 from noon until 3:00 at Covenant Community Church of God.
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