Girl, 12, dies in McHenry house fire

March 9, 2013 4:26:05 AM PST
Authorities in suburban McHenry continue to search for the cause of a fire that killed 12-year-old Dayana Garcia.

Dayana is remembered Friday night as a sweet, beautiful girl.

The fire completely destroyed the two-story house. Dayana was in an upstairs bedroom in the back of the house, where authorities found her body.

Firefighters returned to the scene Friday night, pouring water on smoldering hot spots. The fire was fully involved when they were called a little after 1 a.m. Friday morning.

Five members of the Garcia family managed to escape out a second story window. Dayana never made it out.

"She was beautiful. She just took care of her little brothers," said neighbor Annie Rolewski.

"She was just so sweet. She didn't talk much, but you could see her happiness whenever we looked at her. She was adorable," said Dana Rolewski.

Neighbors have left flowers at the house as they remember the happy 7th grader.

Firefighters recovered her body in a back upstairs bedroom. The coroner says she died of smoke inhalation. There was no way to reach her to get her out.

"It was a tower of white smoke, maybe 80 feet in the air just billowing, billowing white smoke," said neighbor Rich Panek.

Family members were apparently asleep when the fire started. A neighbor called 911, but firefighters could do little but try to contain the blaze when they arrived.

"When you talk about fully engulfed, it's coming out all of the windows, meaning it is the fire," said McHenry Fire Chief Toney Hueman. "It is coming up the windows, it's coming out of the roof in both the front of the house and the back of the house, to the point where our firefighters in their firefighting gear with their air packs on cannot make entry. It is dangerous for our fire fighters to go in when it's that amount of fire."

Investigators have determined that the fire was accidental as dogs were unable to find any sign of an accelerant.

They have not yet determined what caused the fire.