WAYNESFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Two children are dead following a house fire in Auglaize County on Wednesday.
Auglaize County released a 911 call that was made from the scene:
A somber cloud hovered over the small community of Waynesfield following the tragedy.
In a town where everyone is considered a friend, Wednesday’s news hit especially hard. Family members said Trinity, 10, and Keelin, 7, were loved by many.
“There was not anybody that Keelin didn’t know or Trinity didn’t know,” said Jeanie Waitman, the girls’ great aunt. “They were just so happy and full of life.”
Waitman, who lives in the heart of town, was one of the first to find out what happened.
It was also a loss striking a chord with the Wayne Township Fire Department where the nearly 20 volunteer firefighters on staff all knew the family.
“Everybody knows everybody,” said Chief Albert Presnell. “They already started some GoFundMe accounts to help the family out. It’s a tight-knit group.”
The fire started just after 6:30 a.m. in the 18000 block of State Route 196, just north of Waynesfield.
Firefighters said when they arrived, the home was completely engulfed in flames. The girls’ mother, Amanda Doty, was outside the home telling firefighters her daughters were still trapped.
After several unsuccessful attempts at a rescue, firefighters had to pull back.
At nearby Waynesfield-Goshen Elementary School, where Trinity was in fourth grade and Keelin was in first grade, the tragedy also hits home.
Wednesday was the first day for the district’s Spring Break vacation.
“We’re a very small district,” said Chris Pfister, Superintendent of Waynesfield-Goshen Local Schools. “The entire community is very saddened by this. They’re just heartbroken.”
Pfister said students and staff will return from break next Tuesday. They will be greeted by crisis counselors looking to help anyone grieving the loss.
Several prayer vigils were held around the community on Wednesday, as well. The parking lot quickly filled at Waynesfield Baptist Church for a prayer near the family’s home.
Community members also spent the night praying at New Hampshire Community Church in nearby New Hampshire just south of Waynesfield.
As the community begins to heal, those close to the family said it will be hard to overcome the loss of two young girls whose presence just seemed to make the world a better place.
“You’d look at them and they would just light you up just by their beautiful smile and their energy and their love for life,” said Waitman. “I can’t say enough about them.”