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Family and friends remember teen killed after Rexburg house fire

UPDATE: 10-27-16 2:00 p.m.

Madison County Coroner Rick Davis has determined Monica Franco died in her sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning. He said she was not burned in a fire at her home Wednesday.

Original Story:

Family and friends of a 16-year-old killed following a fire at a Rexburg home Wednesday are honoring the teenager online.

“[The fire is] such a tragic accident. Our hearts go out to the family,” Madison Fire Chief Corey Child said.”[It is a] very critical time for them. I hope everyone’s prayers are combined for them.”

Child told KIFI/KIDK crews were called to the home on S. 5th W. around 8:30 Wednesday morning. When crews arrived, Franco was found unresponsive in the front yard. She had been carried out of the burning home by her father.

“The father asked everybody to get out of the home and went from room to room and it was that time they found their daughter unresponsive,” Corey said.

On a GoFundMe page created for the family, friends describe Franco as “a very sweet, beautiful, loving young woman.” It goes on to say the death of the Madison High School student has left the family “devastated beyond words”.

Child told KIFI/KIDK the cause of the fire is under investigation, but the fire is believed to have been started by a wood burning stove. It had likely been burning for hours before being discovered.

“We don’t have any magical way of saying it had been burning this long or that long,” Child said. “We do know there was significant damage in the attic. 2×4’s had been burned through and what not so the fire had been smoldering and or burning for a while.”

The fire was contained to the attic and now smoke or fire entered the living quarters of the home, according to Child. He says because of that an official cause of death for Franco can not be determined.

“The hospital is working with us as well as the county coroner,” he said. “[The] county coroner has issued his request for toxicology on the patient and when that comes back we will perhaps be able to put the story together a little bit better on what the cause of death was.”

Madison School District #321 is providing students with the chance to talk with counselors if they feel the need, following the death of Franco, a reporter for the high school newspaper.

“We realize that grief and loss are hard emotions to navigate for all individuals, especially children, and youth,” the district posted on Facebook. “If you have a student who may need help processing and coping with these feelings, we have clinicians on standby. To access these services, call Madison Cares at 359-3300 or contact the office of your child’s school.

Chief Child said the home had smoke detectors but they did not go off until fire crews were leaving.

The Red Cross is helping the remaining family members with housing.

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