SULLIVAN CO., Ind. (WTHI) – It’s been more than two weeks since a fire sparked at a Sullivan County daycare.
The devastating blaze claimed the life of a little girl. This weekend the community is coming together to support the grieving family.
Pictures reflect a smiling, energetic 17-month-old Emma Lloyd, that all changed in the early morning hours of March 4.
The Waterman’s Wonderland Daycare located in the 500 block of East Silver Street went up in flames. Emma was one of six children inside and the only one who didn’t make it out alive.
She died from smoke inhalation.
“The first responders were doing everything they possibly could. The weather was still very cold and frigid that day. There were numerous responders that assisted with it. It was just a tragedy that day,” said David Haddix, Chief Deputy, of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department.
The fire was later ruled accidental. Officials state the cause of the fire was most likely a baseboard heating unit.
Eighteen days have passed, and now a heartbroken community is coming together to remember a life lost too soon.
“We’re very fortunate in the community that we live in that when there is a tragedy like this people step up,” said Haddix.
People like Veronica Gray, who didn’t even know Emma, are doing what they can to help.
After Gray heard about the deadly fire she took to Facebook creating a page titled, “In Remembrance of Emma Lloyd.”
“She touched people that she didn’t even meet just through stories that other people would tell, because she was always smiling,” Gray said.
Emma’s beautiful smile compelled Gray, along with other community members; to organize a fundraiser to help the family with funeral related costs.
“It’s important to me that we do this for her. I spoke with her dad and he wants to get her a beautiful headstone,” Gray explained.
The page with more than 1,400 likes displays a picture of baby Emma playing in the snow, one of many shared by a community that is coping with the tragedy.
“I’m 100% proud to be in Sullivan County. Anytime anything happens this county comes together like no other and we’re just a great big team,” stated Gray.
The benefit will be held Sunday, March 23 at the 4-H Grounds in Sullivan County. The spaghetti dinner and silent auction will start at 4 p.m.
In addition to the fundraiser an account has been set up for baby Emma at BMO Harris Bank.