(HENRY, Tenn.) — A 13-year-old girl in Tennessee is being hailed a hero after authorities say she rescued her younger sister from a deadly fire.
Around 11:50 p.m. local time on Thursday, emergency dispatchers received a 911 call reporting a fire at a home in Henry County, according to Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew.
Lilly Pollack, 13, who was able to get out of the house, ran back in when she heard her younger sister, 8-year-old Rose, yelling for her, Belew said. The two sisters were able to escape but the girls’ parents and three of their siblings died in the fire.
Belew said in a press conference Friday that the fire was the worst tragedy he had ever seen in his 40-year career.
“It’s a tremendous loss of life,” Belew said.
According to Belew, Lilly and Rose attempted to get their parent’s attention by throwing rocks at the windows to wake up them up.
The exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined but Belew mentioned that the home had faulty wiring as well as a wood stove that had been burning to provide heat. In addition, there were no fire detectors found inside the home, and the nearest fire hydrant was five miles away.
Authorities do not expect foul play.
Images taken by ABC Nashville affiliate WKRN-TV show toys scattered across the yard, now filled with ashed debris from the home. The children killed in the fire included 3-year-old Callie Pollack, 4-year-old Ivy Pollack and 14-year-old Jimmy Pollack Jr., Belew said.
The children’s parents, Jimmy Pollack and Carrie Pollack, were found dead in their bedroom, Belew said.
Rose is recovering at a local hospital with first-degree burns to her neck, face and arms, Belew said, adding that she is expecting to be released Saturday. Lilly is currently in the care of extended family members and members of her church, Belew said. It is unclear if she sustained any injuries in the fire.
“I’ll never forget this day nor will any member of the fire department or first responders that were there today,” Belew said.
Local schools placed grief counselors on site to provide support to students and staff, WKRN-TV reported.
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