Harrisburg community supports family after deadly house fire - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Harrisburg community supports family after deadly house fire

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HARRISBURG -- The Harrisburg community is pulling together to support a family after a house fire claimed the lives of two young girls and their mother Wednesday.

It was a bittersweet senior night at Harrisburg High School as they honored the 12th graders, then held a moment of silence for the students who recently passed away. There were tears, lots of hugs and pats on the back as the community paid a tribute to the 8th grade twin sisters who lost their lives in the fire.

Holding back tears, Kenny McDaniel, the Harrisburg Middle School 8th grade girls basketball coach, told New 3 the twins impacted many.

"I had a hard time dealing with this but it kind of put my mind at ease today with the thought that I knew the Lord knew what He was doing when He called them home," McDaniel said. "But I hope He's ready because Heaven ain't gonna be the same."

Mayor John McPeek explained how the twins were involved in several sports.

"When those two girls were happy, the whole school was happy, when those two girls were sad, the whole school was sad," McPeek said. 

Those words shared on social media by a school leader stuck with McPeek. He said the community is shocked but pouring in lots of support. 

A fundraiser set up to help the twins' two other siblings raised over $10,000 in one day. The school even collected donations at the game.

"I'm just totally impressed with the way the citizens of Harrisburg have stepped up and are helping this family out," McPeek said.

Family members said although the twins were still in their teenage years, their legacy will carry on.

"Their spirit will live forever, they will never be forgotten, never," said Rietta Miller, a family member of the twins. "The love that our family has and the community has for us, we will get through this."

Click here for the family's gofundme page. It's already raised more than $20,000.

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