"I just can't believe that this happened to them—they were so loving and so sweet," neighbor and family member Jesse Knoth-Harrington said.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 21, 2022. It has since been updated.
An entire community in Indiana is mourning the loss of two little girls who died in a house fire.
First responders received a call at 2:26 a.m. for a residential fire in a rural area between Frankfort and Rossville on January 14, 2022, according to a statement from the Clinton County Sheriff's Office, per PEOPLE.
Upon arrival, a deputy who was aware that "two children were trapped inside" entered the smoke-filled home, but was not able to locate them. The parents also attempted to go back inside the burning home to rescue their daughters, "but they were unsuccessful," Rossville Fire Chief Aron Fife told FOX59.
Brandon and Telia Heid were able to escape the blaze with the couple's youngest daughter, but their older daughters were stuck in the house.
Clinton County Coroner Ed Cripe on Saturday identified the girls who died in an early Friday morning fire as Amelia Heid, 5, and Shea Heid, 12. Their causes of death were listed as "smoke inhalation/carbon monoxide manner: accidental." https://t.co/GEL0uH5BXR— WISH-TV (@WISH_TV) January 16, 2022
Firefighters tried their best to control the blaze, however, they were unsuccessful and the whole house was engulfed by the fire in a matter of moments.
"Firefighters from the Rossville Fire Department quickly began working the fire and attempting to gain entry into the home," read the statement from the Clinton County Sheriff's Office. "The home became fully engulfed and required the response of mutual aid from surrounding agencies."
Once the fire subsided, firefighters entered the house to find the bodies of a 12-year-old girl and a 5-year-old girl, identified by the family as Shea and Amelia Heid. The girls both died from accidental smoke inhalation, according to autopsy reports from the Clinton County Coroner.
"This is one of those incidents as a parent and a first responder, you dread. We are all praying for the family and offering our support to all responders involved," Sheriff Rich Kelly wrote in a statement.
12-year-old Shea Heid and her 5-year-old Amelia were killed in a fire in Rossville early this morning. 💔 pic.twitter.com/hRKYuAQ0Hc— WRTV Indianapolis (@wrtv) January 15, 2022
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation, but there is no foul play being suspected.
Family member Jesse Knoth-Harrington, who lives next door, told WRTV that all he could do was to watch in horror as the flames consumed the Heids' home. "I screamed and woke everyone up," recalled Knoth-Harrington, the girls' uncle. He went on to describe the flames as "two times as tall as the house."
"I just can't believe that this happened to them—they were so loving and so sweet. They didn't deserve this," he added. "Everybody is going to need time to heal and everybody will need to rebuild but those lives will never be replaced."
A GoFundMe has been set up for the grieving family following the tragedy.
"January 14th, 2022 around 2:30 am a parent's worst nightmare was imagined. Two beautiful children lost their lives in a home fire in Clinton County Indiana. Telia and Brandon Heid escaped the home with 1 daughter but were unable to save 12-year-old Shea Heid and 5-year-old Amelia Heid. The house is a total loss. Please help by donating what you can. The family has lost everything. They will need money for clothes, diapers, and for funeral expenses. They are going to struggle as they rebuild their home and life," the description read.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe | 2 children lost in a home fire