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'My hearts hurt a lot': Newcomerstown community mourns family of 6 killed in house fire

Loved ones say parents Leroy Elliott and Terrin Hendricks died along with their four young daughters in the blaze early Monday morning.

NEWCOMERSTOWN, Ohio — Memories of a mother, father, and their four daughters are being shared after the family of six died in a fire early Monday morning inside their Newcomerstown home.

"I've cried a lot, my hearts hurt a lot, I've prayed a lot about this," family friend Joan Fulton said at a makeshift memorial outside the remains of the charred house. "Such precious little girls gone way, way, way too soon.

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Loved ones tell 3News parents Leroy Elliott and Terrin Hendricks were in their early 30s, with their girls in preschool through eighth grade: 13-year-old Addison, 9-year-old May May, 7-year-old Abby, and 4-year-old Alyssa.

Fulton and Richelle Lefler are close with Terrin's mother, Tina. On Tuesday, they shared reflections of Tina's daughter and granddaughters.

"I'd hear Tina talk especially [about] her oldest granddaughter, Addison, and that's who I was most acquainted with," Lefler said. "I teach special education, and Addison was always willing to help students in my class."

The four children attended school in Newcomerstown, a close-knit community and district. Superintendent Jason Peoples says counselors and support staff will be available Jan. 3 when students return to class.

"Anytime you have a tragedy this profound, it's going to send shockwaves through a small community," Peoples told WKYC. "Obviously, it will have an impact on kids just as much as it does adults."

Newcomerstown Trojan Family: Newcomerstown Schools are deeply saddened to hear the news of the tragic house fire early...

Posted by Newcomerstown Board of Education on Monday, December 26, 2022

More than 100 people gathered for a vigil Monday night to share stories and memories of the young lives that were lost.

"I think the outpouring of love is just a picture of what they meant to so many," Lefler noted. "Even though the girls were young, the daughters, the impact they've had on lives of so many is evident."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, although the Ohio Fire Marshal's Office speculates unsafe heating methods may have been a factor. Multiple GoFundMe campaigns — one by friends including Joan and Richelle and another by Leroy's sister — have combined to raise more than $17,000 already.

More local coverage from WKYC:

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