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Haleyville School System rallies behind father and community upon loss of mother and two children in house fire

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 10:29 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Haleyville community rallied behind a father who lost everything: his wife, two children and home in a fire.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation at the time this article was written.

Haleyville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Holly Sutherland said surrounding school systems, Winfield City Schools, Marion County Schools, and Russellville City Schools offered the district support staff. Sutherland said her own team was already at work to help the community get through the tough time ahead.

“To have two young students so full of life with great potential for their future, to lose their lives at such a young age, it’s heartbreaking and devastating for our entire community,” said Dr. Holly Sutherland.

Sutherland said the loss of 8-year-old Annabelle, her brother 4-year-old Jacob, and their mother Cara Evans, had brought their small community to their knees in prayer for comfort, understanding, and strength.

“Annabelle was a student who exceeded our expectation the last couple of years. She was coming out of her shell. She was such a light.... always had a smile on her face,” said Sutherland. “And Jacob was writing his name and spelling it out. For a 4-year-old, that was a pretty cool thing for him to be able to do.”

As for their parents, Sutherland said they were always supportive and active.

Sutherland said the school had begun receiving calls from parents unsure of how to address the loss with their children, so, the district is sending counselors and teachers to their homes to help because students are still on holiday break and return to school Monday, Jan 10,  where she said those resources were also available.

“I told our teachers yesterday, don’t take any days for granted. It might be our last to see a student. It might be their last to see you,” she said.

The Haleyville Fire Marshal told WBRC they planned to send an update on the investigation into the fire by the end of the week.

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