Kentucky community heartbroken after fire kills 7-year-old

JACKSON COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - A Kentucky community is heartbroken after an fire early Thursday morning took the life of a 7-year-old girl with autism.

It happened in the small community of Sandgap, in Jackson County.

Neighbor Dee Johnson described the flames she saw from the fire, "It lit the whole top of the hill up, it was really bright and then I heard an explosion."

Emergency crews were able to get some family members to the hospital including an infant who had to be tossed from a window and given CPR.

But, Kentucky State Police say it was too late for a 7-year-old girl who suffered from autism.

Little Dora Brewer knew her room as her safe place. Frightened by the fire, she ran back into her burning home.

Her father Henry Brewer was overcome with grief. He told WLEX-TV his daughter was confused by the fire, "She was smart and she could do anything she wanted to do but, she didn't understand what was going on."

Hours later at Dora's elementary school, there wasn't a dry eye around.

Seeing Dora's cubbie with her toys and special needs learning materials was tough but, what proved most difficult? Trying to answer questions of the other children.

Principal Rob Williams said of a little girl's inquiry about Dora, "She said, Mr. Williams is Dora really dead?" He said that was particularly heartbreaking for him.

Dora's teacher Dreama Durham said the little girl was full of energy and her personality came out in gym class because she loved to run.

Durham remembered, "She would take you to the gym and she would grab your hand and holler, one, two, three go!"

The elementary school is holding on to a memory of a child who sometimes had trouble speaking but, took joy in saying three simple words, 'I love you'."

Durham said, "I'm sure she's in a very special place where her speech doesn't matter anymore, because everybody will understand her now."

Investigators haven't released the cause of the fire.

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