When a 9-year-old Virginia girl returned to school, her parents didn’t know she would close her eyes forever a week later. Their world turned upside down when they discovered their fourth grader was trapped in a house fire.
The bond parents share with their children is unlike any other. They love their little ones to bits and can go to any lengths to protect them. When people have a child for the first time, they experience a love they have never felt before.
Because of this unconditional love, it’s difficult for parents to see their children in pain. It takes a toll on them when they lose their little one and are forced to prepare for their funeral, just like the parents in today’s heartbreaking story.
Returning to School
Fourth-grader Kaysie Anne Arancibia returned to school on August 29, 2022, and was excited to learn new things. She attended the Sleepy Hollow Elementary School in Fairfax County, Virginia, where she lived with her mother, Crystal, and grandmother, Patricia Stoderl.
However, fate had other plans. Crystal, and Kaysie’s father Mauricio Arancibia, had never imagined what their 9-year-old would go through. Their worst nightmare began in the early hours of September 6, 2022.
It all began when John Morris, Crystal’s neighbor, noticed an unusual red light in the sky. Worried, he went into his backyard to see what had happened. His heart skipped a beat when he saw Crystal’s house engulfed in flames.
Engulfed in Flames
Morris quickly dialed 911 but couldn’t get close to the house because it was too hot. Many neighbors surrounded the house as first responders tried to get inside amidst the thick black smoke and red flames.
The authorities believed the fire started in the house’s backyard, but they weren’t sure why.
“I wish I could have gotten there sooner and pounded on some doors and gotten people out,” Morris said while talking about the unfortunate incident. The firefighters managed to pull out two people and a dog from the house.
One of the people rescued by the firefighters was Kaysie, while the other was Stoderl. They immediately moved them to a nearby hospital to treat their injuries, but it was too late — Kaysie was no more. The hospital called Mauricio around 4 a.m. to tell him about his daughter. He said:
“Nobody could have avoided it. She was asleep, and carbon dioxide ― she breathed too much of it, and that’s what killed her.”
As the police tried to find out the cause of the fire, Stoderl was in the ICU between life and death. Later that day, she took her last breath. Her dog had also died because of the injuries from the blazing fire.
The authorities believed the fire started in the house’s backyard, but they weren’t sure why. The house now had a massive hole in the ceiling with broken windows and black burn marks.
Life would never be the same for Mauricio and Crystal, who had lost their loved ones. Their daughter “had her whole future ahead of her” but lost her life a day before Crystal’s birthday. A devastated Mauricio told DC News Now:
“I’m sad. My soul is broken. My heart’s [broken] into a million pieces.”
Remembering Kaysie and Stoderl
People remembered little Kaysie as the most playful and happy girl. Mauricio said she lit up every room she stepped into. He was devastated after losing his girl. He wanted to see her succeed in life, but his dreams were crushed that night.
Crystal’s friend, Missy Carine, set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Kaysie and Stoderl’s memorial services. Carine felt terrible for her friend and thought this was the least she could do for her. She said:
“Kaysie was a 9-year-old fun, energetic, funny, smart little girl who passed away way too soon.”
Friends and family put a cross and photos of the deceased in the front yard of the damaged house. They also lit candles in the memory of Kaysie and Stoderl and hoped they would rest in peace.
We extend our deepest condolences to the deceased’s loved ones dealing with the pain of this unimaginable tragedy.