Sherrard Community Comes Together After Fire Claims 5 Lives - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Sherrard Community Comes Together After Fire Claims 5 Lives

Updated: March 27, 2013 10:38 PM CDT

Update:  SHERRARD, Ill. (AP) - Authorities are identifying the five people killed in a western Illinois manufactured home as a 38-year-old woman, her 8-year-old daughter and three other girls.

Mercer County Coroner Ron McNall says 38-year-old Anna Viager died along with daughter Breana Viager in the blaze early Wednesday near the village of Sherrard. The other victims were 15-year-old Cassandra Turner, 11-year-old Jessica Harker and 13-year-old Holli Harker.

Earlier Post:

The Sherrard community is mourning its own. Five people were killed when fire ripped through a home there overnight. It happened in the 13-hundred block of 300th street in rural Sherrard Wednesday morning.

Wednesday night, much of the community came out for a vigil. Friends and neighbors packed into the United Methodist Church in Preemption. Many of them stood along the walls. Organizers had to bring in extra chairs. Dozens of families are still coming to grips with what happened, coming together to get through it.

Four children at a sleep-over and one adult were killed in the fire.  Crews say they were called out at about one in the morning, for a double-wide on fire and people trapped inside. We know the man who lives there was able to escape with his two sons. He tried to get back in to the people still inside, but the fire was too much. He was burned and transported to a hospital.  A woman and four children perished in the blaze. The oldest was just 15.

Mike Iverson says he knew them all. "It's a small town, small community. You know everybody. Words can't describe the way we feel now." He tells us, "It could have been anybody. Could have been one of our kids, one of your kids. It's just not right."

Pastor Cindy Rettig says, "This day has just unfolded very, very slowly. It's as though everything is going in slow motion, especially for the families. The family that I've been closest to has just been stunned and shocked and are still trying to come out of this horrible nightmare. That's exactly how they've described it is a nightmare they wish they could wake up from."

She says the families will get through this, but it will take time and they will be forever changed. And she says the community will get through it too, by working together. We are told school counselors are available, and that students and staffers plan to wear blue at school Monday, in honor of these students and their families. Meantime, investigators are still working to determine what caused this fire.  They are not releasing any names or conditions at this point.

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