7-Year-Old Fire Victim Dies

By David Chang
|  Monday, May 27, 2013  |  Updated 11:54 PM EDT
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The family of 7-year-old Raquibah Jeffries talks only to NBC10's Rosemary Connors about the loss of their daughter in a weekend fire in Southwest Philadelphia. Raquibah was trapped inside the home, and died Sunday at a hospital.

NBC10.com - Rosemary Connors

The family of 7-year-old Raquibah Jeffries talks only to NBC10's Rosemary Connors about the loss of their daughter in a weekend fire in Southwest Philadelphia. Raquibah was trapped inside the home, and died Sunday at a hospital.

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Catherine Shands broke down crying while talking about her 7-year-old daughter.

"She loved everybody," Catherine said.

Her daughter, Raquibah Jeffries, died a day after being trapped in a house fire in Southwest Philadelphia.

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says the department was informed Sunday morning that the young girl had been taken off life support.

Raquibah's parents say their daughter and her 8-year-old brother Namir were staying over at their cousin's house on Friday on the 6500 block of Windsor Avenue. On Saturday, around 5:40 a.m., a comforter on a bed inside the home caught fire from a space heater, according to the family.

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While the five other people inside managed to escape, Raquibah didn't make it. Her family says she let go of the hand of the person who was trying to take her out and then ran deeper inside the house into a bathroom.

"Somehow she got confused or she was scared," said Catherine. "She was scared. When they tried to get her she didn't make it back out." 

"She got nervous and scared and she let go," said the girl's father, Matt Black. "That's what separated her from being here and not here."

The girl was found inside the bathroom suffering from heat and smoke injuries. She was taken to the hospital on Saturday where she was in critical condition. On Sunday she was taken off of life support.

Two other children, including Namir, were treated at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and then released.

"She's watching over me," Namir said.

Officials say the home has working smoke detectors.

Raquibah's burial and funeral will be held on Tuesday through the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects(AICP), located at 4431 Walnut Street.

"It just hurts my heart that she's not going to be with us anymore," said Catherine P. Shands, the girl's grandmother. "But in spirit she'll always be with me." 

The family has set up a memorial fund to help cover the cost of Raquibah's funeral as well as a foundation that will raise awareness for fire safety prevention. Anyone who would like to donate can send their money to the account "4283159717" at any local TD Bank. A benefit show will also take place June 2 at 7 p.m. at the Laff House on 221 South Street.

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