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Family, friends honor 11-year-old electrocuted in a neighborhood pool

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LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Friends and family members are trying to find a way to honor Lauren Cecil, the 11-year-old girl electrocuted in a neighborhood pool Tuesday night.

Investigators say a live wire fell from a nearby pole into the pool's parking lot. Swim Club leaders tell FOX8 the grass nearby is usually wet from drainage and recent rain. Somehow the water in the pool was charged.

"We heard a big loud snap like a broom handle. We looked up and it was just a line of fire and then just immediate smoke from where the power line came down and hit the ground," said Head Swim Coach Clay Vickers.

Vickers explained three girls were in the pool at the time. They started yelling the water felt funny. Two girls got out on the concrete. Lauren Cecil attempted to climb out using the metal ladder inside the pool when she was electrocuted.

"She was laying there in the pool hanging on the ladder. She wasn't breathing or anything. We got her out and started CPR and everything," said Lifeguard Lucas Rhodes, who was one of at least three lifeguards on-duty Tuesday night at Brookside.

Lifeguard Caroline Burkhart said she immediately tried to grab Lauren and help her out of the water. "I didn't know what happened, and I grabbed the ladder. It felt as if I was holding a jackhammer. It shook me," she explained.

They explained no one could safely get near Lauren at first, but they finally managed to get a kickboard under the girl's head to keep it above water.

Vickers said he had already called 911 and the dispatcher told him to turn off all power to the pool. They were finally able to get Lauren out of the water with a backboard.

"For about fifteen or twenty minutes we were doing CPR before the paramedics got there to take over," said Vickers.

Lauren Cecil did not survive.

Burkhart said the girl's mother was there the whole time, holding her daughter's hand and praying. They said her father also arrived at the pool within minutes. Their friends tell FOX8 Lauren was their only child and the couple is beyond devastated.

"Our prayers all go out to them and hope that they are able to get peace," said Burkhart.

Vickers added, "She was hard not to like. She was so sweet. She's a doll. She was a great girl. She had so much potential with swimming. She was one of our best kickers."

Lucas Rhodes, another lifeguard, helped administer CPR to Lauren. He said they were all distraught when they heard she hadn't survived. "I just broke down crying for like an hour and a half then I just went and laid down and couldn't stop thinking about it."

The Cecil family still wanted the Brookside Barracudas to swim this weekend at the County Swim meet in Denton Lauren was so excited about.

The team will be painting Lauren's initials on their swim caps. Organizers of the county meet say they will be honoring Lauren Cecil this weekend.