CENTER — A fire that caused total destruction of a mobile home located at 841 E. Highway 112 in Center claimed the life of a 13-year-old girl Wednesday afternoon. The name of the family is being withheld pending notification of relatives who live in Guatemala.
At 4:13 p.m., Center dispatch received a call from the young girl’s mother who had come home and found a fire burning in her daughter’s bedroom. Emergency personnel were immediately dispatched with Officer Lopez and Police Cadet Guadarrama of the Center Police Department arriving first on the scene.
Lopez and Guadarrama went into the structure, brought out the girl who was unresponsive and immediately initiated CPR. Center Police Chief Dale Meek arrived roughly sixty seconds after the officers, one of whom is still in training, and found them already administering lifesaving procedures. They continued until the Center Fire and EMS arrived on the scene, which was shortly thereafter.
Fire Chief Russel Brown states that twelve firemen and an ambulance crew of three responded to the call where police “already had everyone out of the house.” The young girl was transferred to the hospital but, tragically, did not survive.
The Center Police Department is investigating the cause of the fire; however, Meek says he does not suspect any foul play, at this time.
The Center Housing Authority has found alternative housing for the family, including the girl’s two younger brothers. The entirety of the family’s possessions were destroyed, and Rainbow’s End is donating items, including clothing for the mother and the two boys.
For those wishing to donate money, there is a collection jar located at Town Hall, 294 South Worth Street. Police Chief Meek says all donations are welcome, but gift cards are strongly preferred over cash, simply for security reasons.
When asked how Lopez and Guadarrama are doing after the tragedy, Police Chief Meek says “both are doing okay.” Fire Chief Brown indicates the same of his crew, stating it is standard practice to check in with the department’s first responders after difficult calls.
Meek expects to be able to release the name of the victim’s family within twenty-four hours.