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Community responds with donations after fire claims lives of 2 little girls
children fire
This picture of Itzayana and Monica Figueroa is from the GoFundMe page established by Lori Pollard. (Special)

Friends and community are responding with a fund drive and other assistance for the family of two little girls, ages 2 and 3, who died in a fire Saturday night that destroyed their home in the Barn Mobile Home Park just south of Statesboro.

Statesboro Fire Chief Tim Grams said a call about a fire with victims possibly trapped inside was received just before midnight to the mobile home park located off U.S. Highway 301 South about a half-mile south of the bypass. Firefighters were dispatched at 11:49 p.m.

Units from the Statesboro and Bulloch County Fire Departments arrived to find fire and smoke showing from the older-model mobile home at Lot 53, Grams said Monday morning.

An unidentified woman on the scene told firefighters that two children were still inside the home and likely were in a back bedroom of the structure. Grams said firefighters entered the building to conduct a search for the children and begin putting out the fire.

Firefighters were able to quickly locate and remove the two victims from the house. However, Grams said attempts by firefighters and Emergency Medical Service personnel to revive the toddlers were unsuccessful, and both were pronounced dead at the scene.

“Any fatality as a result of a fire is tragic, but when children are involved it is especially heartbreaking,” Grams said in a press release. “Despite our firefighters’ best efforts, the amount of fire and smoke present when units arrived on-scene made it unlikely anyone would be able to survive that extreme of an environment.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family of the two children.”


Two little girls

Bulloch County Coroner Jake Futch confirmed Monday that the children were Itzayana Figueroa, 3, and Monica Figueroa, 2. 

A friend of their family, Lori Pollard, established a donation page, labeled “Itzayana & Monica’s Funeral Expenses,” Sunday afternoon on Its stated goal was to raise $25,000 to “lessen the burden as this family endures the unimaginable,” with the money going first to the funeral expenses and then toward the costs of securing the family another place to live. In about 24 hours, by 5 p.m. Monday, the GoFundMe effort had received 180 donations totaling $10,795, according to totals displayed on the webpage. Phoned earlier in the day, Pollard said the funeral costs and housing were the two most pressing needs now. People who wish to donate could also do so through Joiner Anderson Funeral Home “in care of Itzayana and Monica,” she added. “Of course, (family members) are very thankful for all of the help,” Pollard said. She indicated that she wasn’t prepared to share information about the surviving family members. The Fostering Bulloch Hope Chest was helping them with clothing and the Statesboro Food Bank was providing some food, she said.  

Under investigation

The cause of the fire remained unknown as of Monday morning. Grams said the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia State Fire Marshal’s Office would continue an investigation into the fire, which occurred outside the city limits but within the Statesboro Fire Department’s five-mile service district. At least one adult was believed to have been in the home with the children when the fire started, but officials were still trying to determine exactly who was present, Grams said. Firefighters did see smoke detectors in the fire-destroyed residence and were noting that fact in their report, he said. “As cold weather starts we do tend to see an uptick in home fires,” Grams said. “Again, I’m not exactly sure what the cause of this one was, but it should serve as a reminder of how critical smoke detectors are, and there were smoke detectors in this home, but we were unsure if they were functioning at the time.”
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