Town grieves girl killed in fire, school to offer counseling services

Feb 25, 2024

MIDDLEBORO — Bouquets of flowers have been placed in front of the burned out home at 27 Pearl St., where a young girl died after a fire tore through the structure early Saturday.

Those expressions of sympathy reflect the grief the entire town is experiencing, Middleboro Town Manager James McGrail said Sunday.

“The town is devastated by the loss,’’ McGrail said. “Our hearts go out to the family and to our first responders.’’

Middleboro Select Board Chair Mark Germain expressed a similar sentiment. “Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the family,’’ he said.

The fire victim, who has not yet been identified, was a student at Nichols Middle School, where grief counselors will be in place Monday, Feb. 26, Superintendent of Schools Carolyn Lyons announced Sunday, Feb. 25 in a statement to the school community.

“Yesterday we lost one of our Nichols Middle School students who was in a tragic house fire,’’ Lyons wrote. “This unforeseen event has left us all shocked and saddened. This profound loss impacts not just our Nichols Middle School community but also the Burkland Elementary School and Middleboro High School communities where family members attend. We extend our deepest condolences to our student’s family and friends as they navigate this extremely tough time.’’

She stressed the importance of coming “together as a community to support one another.’’

“Counseling support will be provided on an ongoing basis at any building requiring assistance. It is crucial that we provide a safe and nurturing environment for our students to process their emotions,’’ she wrote. “Our counseling team is available to provide individual and group counseling sessions, where students and staff can freely express their feelings and receive guidance in navigating their grief. ‘’

Lyons noted that further counseling information is available through

 “Our thoughts and prayers are with this student’s family during this unimaginably painful time,’’ Lyons wrote. “We will be providing ongoing support to the family and offer our assistance in any way possible.’’

Police and fire were called to the girl’s home at approximately 2 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 24 after receiving reports of a structure fire with people trapped inside, according to Fire Chief Owen Thompson and Police Chief Joseph Perkins.

Heavy fire coming from both the first and second floors of the home prevented first responders from accessing the missing child who was reportedly still inside.

Teams continued their efforts to put out the fire and prevent extension to nearby buildings in the densely populated neighborhood. Once the fire was knocked down, the girl was found dead inside the home, the first responders said.

A woman was transported by ambulance to Rhode Island Hospital with burn injuries that appeared to be serious, while a man and another young girl were both transported by ambulance to local hospitals with less severe injuries, according to Thompson and Perkins. 

Middleboro first responders were aided by firefighters from Raynham, Bridgewater and Lakeville while those from Carver covered Middleboro stations.

Although the incident had a “tragic outcome,’’ Thompson on Sunday praised the effort of all the first responders who battled the fire. “This was a superb effort by the Middleboro Fire Department,’’ he said, and “great teamwork with our mutual aid departments and with the police.’’

The police, Thompson said, also “did a great job’’ in responding. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Middleboro Fire Department, the Middleboro Police Department, the Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit attached to the State Fire Marshal's Office and the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office.

The state Department of Fire Services reported via social media that the cause of the fire is “not suspicious’’ but remains under investigation.