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5-year-old girl killed in Clearfield fire

By | Posted - Dec. 31, 2010 at 8:29 p.m.

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CLEARFIELD -- Tragedy struck Friday in Clearfied when a fast moving fire killed a 5-year-old girl.

Investigators say the fire likely started in a clothes dryer in the center of the family's mobile home. Investigators are still looking into exactly how the fire sparked but say the dryer was running at the time and dust can sometimes build up on heating elements inside dryers, eventually igniting.

Deputy Mark Becraft, with the North Davis Fire District, described "heavy smoke and flames" at the scene.

According to investigators, the fire started just before 7 a.m.

Inside the home were three children ages 11, 8 and 5. The father was on his way home from a graveyard shift; the mother had left for her job. The 11-year-old and 8-year-old escaped the trailer and ran to their grandmother's nearby. The body of 5-year-old Harleigh Wilson, however, was found near the rear of the trailer.

"We had relatives on scene that advised there was a child still inside at that time. Unfortunately the trailer, we had too much heavy fire involvement to perform any type of a rescue," Becraft said.

Firefighters were on scene within minutes of the 911 call and had the fire out in 20 minutes, but the trailer was a loss.

"They've lost everything. The Red Cross is working with them now to make sure they have shelter," Becraft said.

Officials say it appears the fire alarms were working but the fire moved too quickly. As the family grieves the loss of Harleigh, fire bosses are watching their crews carefully and have crisis intervention teams ready if needed.

"They're only human," Becraft said. "They have small children."

The case is now a joint investigation including the state fire marshal, the medical examiner, Clearfield police and other agencies that joined in fighting the fire. They could have a cause determined by early next week.

If you would like to donate to the family, there is an account set up at any Wells Fargo branch under the name Harleigh Wilson.

------ has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.


Story written with contributions from Paul Koepp , Pat Reavy, Sarah Dallof and the DMC News team.


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