A State fire marshal is still investigating the cause of Monday’s fatal house fire in Lancaster that killed a little girl and her caretaker. Meanwhile, family and friends mourn the victims and support the firefighters that were injured.
A memorial in front of the house on the 200 block of East Madison Street continues to grow. Sandra Santos and her daughter were just two of the many people who stopped by to pay their respects to Leilani Roman, 6, and her babysitter Pauline Stone.
Santos had a connection to the little girl.
“She was related to my grandson, so to me, she’s family,” Santos said. “It’s sad. I feel like it was one of my losses.”
Though Santos only met Leilani a few times, the six year old definitely left an impression.
“She was a very intelligent, smart little girl. Very sassy,” she said. “Asked a lot of questions all of the time. ‘What are you doing here? How you doing? Where are you going?’”
At Lancaster’s fire stations, things have also been tough. Three firefighters were injured. Firefighters Tom Bender and Craig Robertson were treated and released. But Lt. Andre Kelley remains at Crozer-Chester Medical Center were severe burns.
“We are a smaller fire department, so we know each other,” said Kevin Ressler, Local 319 President. “We know a lot about each other and when someone gets hurt, you’re upset and just thinking about them.”
Though the victims’ families have praised firefighters heroic efforts, it’s difficult to ease the anguish the department is feeling.
“It eats at you when you’re not able to rescue those people, so it’s kind of a double-edged sword, you appreciate the family appreciating what we did, but you wish more could have, a better outcome,” Ressler said.
Neighbors are in the process of coming up with different ways to raise money for the victim’s families. As soon as we know those details, we’ll bring them to you.
Lancaster Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 319 is accepting donations for Lt. Kelley.
Make checks out to:
Andre Kelley Fund
Attn: Andre Kelley Fund
PO Box 1235
Lancaster, PA 17608