CLINTON COUNTY — A family and community are mourning after two young sisters were killed in a house fire early Friday morning.
Rossville Fire Department Chief Aron Fife said firefighters were called around 2:30 a.m. to a home in the 2000 block of West County Road 700 North. Firefighters already knew two kids were inside the house based on a 911 call, Fife said.
Firefighters found Shea Heid, 12, and her 5-year-old sister, Amelia, inside the home after the fire was put out.
The girls' parents and an infant were able to make it out.
Fife said the parents tried to go back into the home to save Shea and Amelia, but they couldn't get through the fire. A Clinton County Sheriff's deputy also made entry into the smoke-filled home but wasn't able to find the girls.
Shea was a student at Rossville Middle School.
“I feel for the family and I feel for the kids,” said James Hanna the Superintendent for the Rossville Consolidated School District. Shea attended Rossville Middle School.
A moment of silence was held for Amelia and Shea prior to the Rossville versus Try-Central Boy’s Varsity basketball game Friday evening.
“I just can’t believe that this happened to them —they were so loving and so sweet - they didn’t deserve this,” said Jesse Knoth-Harrington, the girls' uncle.
He said he had Amelia and Shea over to his home just a few weeks ago to make cookies.
Knoth-Harrington watched said he was woken up early in the morning and then looked out his window to see the flames from the house next door. He describes the flames as taller than the house itself.
“Why is my window glowing so I put on the glasses and opened up the curtain and saw the flames coming directly out of the window and I screamed and woke everyone up,” he said. “There was nothing we could just stand there and watch them try to fight these flames that were two times as tall as the house was originally."
“Everybody is going to need time to heal and everybody will need to rebuild but those lives will never be replaced,” Knoth-Harrington concluded.
If you would like to donate to the family, a GoFundMe link has been established.
The fire is under investigation by the Indiana State Fire Marshal, according to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. The autopsies are expected to be done on Saturday morning, according to a tweet from IDHS.
“This is one of those incidents as a parent and a first responder, you dread," Clinton County Sheriff Rich Kelly said. "We are all praying for the family and offering our support to all responders involved. I am proud of the quick actions of my deputy for selflessly and bravely entering the home to attempt to locate the girls. Our deputy was evaluated on scene for smoke inhalation. We thank our state agencies and those of surrounding counties for coordinating a response effort and giving us support to effectively deal with this event. Our Chaplains will remain available to all family members and first responders.”
WRTV Senior Producer Rick Harker and Photographer Paul Chiodo contributed to this report.