April 9, 2024

Young Georgia girl, Katelynn Simonds, 11, died while trying to save her dog from a house fire

A young Georgia girl sacrificed her life in a desperate attempt to save a loved one from a devastating house fire, only for both of them to sadly perish in the tragic inferno, according to Fox News.

Katelynn Simonds, 11, of Spalding County, rushed back into the blazing structure to try to save her beloved young dog after her family's home burst into flames Saturday evening, but neither she nor the pup made it out alive.

Family and friends and the broader community are now mourning the horrible loss of life in addition to the family's home and possessions.

Girl died attempting to rescue her dog

Local Fox affiliate WAGA reported on Sunday that Katelynn had been inside the home outside the town of Griffin along with her brother and two others when the structure caught fire, forcing everyone to evacuate.

Katelynn rushed back inside to rescue her dog which was believed to still be in an upstairs room, but never made it back it back out.

"Always had that smile on her face. That's what I'm going to miss," the girl's uncle, Charles Beecher, told the outlet. "She was a joy of life. She was a cheerleader. She was into everything. I mean, it's heartbreaking. It's hard."

"She was worried about her dog upstairs, and she ran upstairs," he further explained. "Katelynn, she’s like us, an animal lover. She went upstairs and got that puppy. His name was 'Little man.'"

Firefighters and family members were unsuccessful in efforts to save Katelynn

Local media outlet WSB-TV reported that Spalding County firefighters entered the burning home and tried to rescue the young girl, but she was already dead by the time they arrived and efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

"They tried to get her, her stepdad and her step-uncle tried to go in after her and to no success, they couldn’t get in," Fire Chief of Operations Mike Byrd said.

One firefighter managed to recover Katelynn's body and bring it outside, though he severely sprained his ankle doing so and was hospitalized.

Byrd told WAGA, "We go in, everyone, with that attitude. We're going to do everything we can, within humanly possible, to try to make a difference. And these stories [are] just very tragic for us."

Memorial and fundraiser created to honor heroic young girl

Both local outlets reported that a makeshift memorial in honor of Katelynn comprised of flowers and stuffed animals was created near the burned-down home by her family, friends, and others in the community.

A family friend also created a GoFundMe account on behalf of the family to help raise money to cover the young girl's funeral costs and other expenses the family will incur while attempting to rebuild their lives.

According to Fox News, investigators have determined that the house fire was accidental and likely originated in a downstairs living room.

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