ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Firefighters in Asheboro are gathering for a debriefing crisis meeting Tuesday night after a tragic fire claimed the lives of two children over the weekend.
Eastside Fire Department Chief Eric Hoffman says the goal of the meeting is to not only discuss the response efforts Saturday, but also give firefighters and responders a chance to talk about how they are dealing with this loss.
He said it's the first fire-related fatality in their district since 2006.
"You feel bad and you're sad," Chief Hoffman pointed out. "Even though none of us had a personal connection with these kids, they're in our community. This is our territory."
Chief Hoffman said 35 volunteers plus other fire personnel responded to the scene Saturday morning around 10:00 a.m.
Lt. Daniel Brown remembered, "We were coming down the road and 911 dispatch came across and said, 'Be advised. There's children. Possible children inside the structure.' Everything changed from there," he admitted.
"At that point, it just ramps up emotions for everybody. It just doesn't ever seem like you can get there fast enough. When children are involved, it's just tougher," Chief Hoffman explained,
When firefighters arrived, one side of the home was engulfed in fire and flames were blowing out of the windows.
"You always hope against hope and you hope for the miracle," said Chief Hoffman. "These guys didn't hesitate. They went right through the windows when they were told. They didn't hesitate."
Crews immediately worked on getting into the side of the home not yet engulfed, he said, hoping to find the kids. Their mother Sherrie Hurley and her boyfriend escaped alive, but with injuries from smoke inhalation, said officials.
Lt. Brown said they soon realized Andrew and Logan Trogdon could not be rescued. It was just too late. "It would capture anybody's heart. It's a child," he paused. "That's a life that hasn't lived yet. It can't be replaced."
Lt. Brown said it's an honor to be part of a fire service community where everyone feels like they can discuss this sort of tragedy openly. They are meeting at 7pm tonight at the district headquarters for the debriefing. "We did everything we could," he added slowly.
Chief Hoffman explained the home did not have a smoke detector. They are reminding people in their community the devices can save lives. "Smoke detectors can make all the difference in the world."
If you can not afford a smoke detector, they said, stop by your local fire station. They can usually donate one or direct you to affordable options.
"I just want everybody to remember those children," concluded Lt. Brown. "There's nothing good that come out of this fire. But we did the best we could."