A Myersville fire that killed two young sisters in late January has been ruled accidental.
Fire officials say a baseboard heater came into contact with drapery in a first floor living room. The drapes were ignited and the fire quickly spread to the furniture.
Investigators say the home did not have working smoke detectors.
The Jan. 31 fire claimed the lives of 3-year-old Madigan Lillard and 6-year-old Sophie Lillard.
Their parents, Chrissy and Jack Lillard, were desperate to save their four young girls. A neighbor says Jack Lillard was on the roof trying to reach the children but couldn’t. Another neighbor, Lois Willard, says Chrissy Lillard has jumped off a balcony.
Neighbors helped the Lillards rescue 8-year-old Morgan and her baby sister Sadie.
“Mrs. Lillard kept saying, ‘Get my babies! Get my babies.’ Couldn’t do a thing about it,” Willard says.
Madigan and Sophie were trapped in the burning home on Highland Avenue. Authorities says firefighters couldn't reach them because of the volume of fire and instability of the structure. The fire rapidly spread because of high winds and open windows.
An autopsy concluded that smoke inhalation killed both girls.
Both 39-year-old Jack Lillard and 8-year-old Morgan Lillard were airlifted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, while two more family members, 33-year-old Angela and 7-month-old Sadie, were treated and released from Frederick Memorial Hospital.
Even people who didn't know the family at all stopped by the site the next day to share their heartbreak
“I'm so sad, so sad about these people,” says Myersville resident Debra Ryan.
And for those who know them well and loved them all, there is shock and pain.
“Those two precious girls, those beautiful girls,” said family friend Cathy Dionne. “Just can't imagine.”