Two young girls die, four family members hurt in Myersville fire -- Gazette.Net


This story was updated at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 1.

Two young girls died and four of their family members, including an infant sister, were injured in a fast-moving fire that destroyed a Myersville home late Thursday night, according to authorities.

Despite what were described by neighbors as frantic efforts to rescue them, Sophie P. Lillard, 6, and Madigan G. Lillard, 3, died of smoke inhalation during the blaze, according to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

Autopsies performed Friday at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore determined their deaths were accidental, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

The victims’ father, Jack R. Lillard, 39, was flown by helicopter to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, while a sister, Morgan B. Lillard, 8, was taken to Children’s National Medical Center, both in Washington, D.C., according to Cpl. Jennifer Bailey, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.

Their conditions were unavailable Friday.

Mother, Angela C. Lillard, 33, and 7-month-old Sadie Lillard were transported to Frederick Memorial Hospital, where they both were treated and later released, Bailey said.

The cause of the fire, which is estimated to have caused $200,000 in damages, is still under investigation, she said.

The two-alarm blaze was reported around 11:20 p.m. in the 3900 block of Highland Avenue. When firefighters arrived, they found the home already engulfed in flames.

The firefighters were told that two girls were still inside, but were unable to find them because of the volume of the blaze and the damage to the unstable structure, Bailey said.

Lois Willard, who lives across the street, said Angela Lillard brought the baby outside and was able to drop her to a neighbor from a second-floor balcony, while Jack Lillard had climbed onto the roof of the garage to try and get to a window and rescue the other two girls.

Several neighbors came to help, but there was little they could do because of the intensity of the fire, Willard said.

“You felt so helpless,” she said.

Willard said the girls would often play outside in the summer on the cul-de-sac, where the family lived.

The family had lived in the home about eight years, she said.

“I just hope and pray those little girls were asleep when it happened,” Willard said.

Another neighbor, Alison Huston, said the Lillards were a quiet, private family, but were friendly and would always wave hello.

Huston’s children would often play with the girls, and they had all been sledding on the hills around the house about a month ago, she said.

Huston said her husband had gone upstairs around 11:30 p.m. when they heard a muffled scream and looked out to see the house engulfed in flames.

“It went [up] so fast,” she said.

About 40 units and 75 firefighters from companies in Frederick and Washington counties, as well as Fort Detrick, responded to the scene, Bailey said. It took them 90 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

A firefighter from Middletown Volunteer Fire Company was also taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital, but no details on his injuries were released by the fire company, Bailey said.

Staff Writer Tripp Laino contributed to this story.