"You take any child that's consumed by fire, it's just devastating for the whole community."

By Lakecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

CARTHAGE, (KLTV) - A sick East Texas girl stayed home from school and was killed when her home caught fire. Her family managed to escape the deadly blaze that sparked up Tuesday morning on the 100 block of Locust Street in Carthage.

Four-year-old Shamira Matlock died in her bed. Fire officials say there was one important device the home was missing that may have saved the young girl's life.

"She was beautiful," said Martisa Townsend. "She was gorgeous. Sweet, sweet, little girl."

Townsend said Matlock and her daughter were playmates. She says Matlock's mother desperately tried to save her from the burning trailer."

"She just tried her best to get her," said Townsend. "She's all hurt by this. I just put myself in that situation if it was my child because their around the same age. They played together. It's just so hurtful...it's just soooo hurtful."

When firefighters arrived, the trailer home was engulfed with flames. They say the fire started near the living room and kitchen area. Matlock's mother, aunt, and three-year-old brother escaped with burns and cuts, but the little girl was trapped in her bedroom.

"She was supposed to have gone to school that morning but she was sick," said Bryan Rickert, the Carthage Fire Marshal. "So, the parents kept her home. I feel that the girl did not suffer any. I believe she probably went into a deep sleep with the smoke and she didn't feel any of the fire pain or anything."

Fire officials said smoke detectors could have saved her.

"I've not found any smoke detectors," said Rickert. "If they would have just had a minute more worth of time everybody could have gotten out the house. You take any child that's consumed by fire, it's just devastating for the whole community. The firemen that are trying to get in there and get them out; the family members themselves. You have any four-year-old child, they're just precious to have."

The family lost everything in the fire. Shamira went to Carthage Primary Head Start and the school is taking up monetary and clothing donations for the family.

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