Mother, Daughter Die In Trailer Fire
Twenty-five-year-old Jessica Ann Brewer and 5-year-old Trinity Lynn Nicole Swope of 203 Hunters Lane, Warfordsburg, asphyxiated due to carbon monoxide poisoning after inhaling smoke from the fire that erupted at approximately 4 a.m.
Fulton County Coroner Berley Souders pronounced Brewer and her daughter dead at the scene at 6:15 a.m. Exact cause of death was pending autopsy reports. However, the day following the tragic fire, Souders informed the “News” that officials opted to perform a test procedure called carboxyhemoglobin analysis to more accurately determine cause of death.
A kindergarten student at Southern Fulton Elementary, Trinity Swope was remembered by her teacher Deanne Baker as being a kind-hearted child, who enjoyed both drawing and writing. “She always had a smile on her face, and she loved to play with baby dolls,” recalled Baker.
Emergency responders were initially alerted to the blaze when it was spotted by next-door neighbor Jessica Diehl, said Needmore Volunteer Fire Co. Chief J.R. Sigel. Aiding Needmore were firefighters from Hancock, McConnellsburg and Breezewood. A tanker responded to the fire scene off Stoneybreak Road in Bethel Township.
According to Sigel, three-quarters of the oldermodel trailer was engulfed upon arrival. Under control within 10 minutes, Sigel stated the firefighters were able to get a good initial knockdown on the flames. The firefighters were able to successfully extinguish the flames, but the trailer went quickly and was gutted due to the damage.
Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Craig Grassmyer was on the scene for much of the remainder of the day. Unsure of what he would find, Grassmyer requested assistance from the Maryland K-9 Unit.
“Before we started moving the fire debris and artifacts, I just wanted to have the accelerant detection K- 9 go over the debris just to be on the safe side,” Grassmyer told the “News.”
Due to the extent of the destruction, Grassmyer announced an exact cause cannot be pinpointed and the fire will be listed as having an undetermined origin.
“At the time of the fire, one person, an adult who woke to the fire, alerted everyone that there was a fire. We have learned by interviews that everyone was up and trying to get out of the residence. Apparently, Jessica and Trinity became disoriented by the fire and smoke conditions and were not able to make it to safety,” said Grassmyer.
Investigating officer Trooper Joseph Horton of the Pennsylvania State Police McConnellsburg substation stated those individuals who were able to make it safely from the burning trailer were 27-year-old Joshua Hill, Harrisonville; Judson O’Farrel, 26, of Scotland, Pa.; Heather Swope, 20, Mc- Connellsburg; and a 7-yearold female.
The total loss has been set at $10,000, Grassmyer said. Brewer did not have any insurance at the time of the fire nor did the owner of the rental trailer, Hunter Epperson of Warfordsburg.
Memorial services for Brewer and Swope were set for Wednesday, November 24, at 11 a.m. at Sideling Hill Christian Church in Needmore. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that memorial contributions be made to the Grove Funeral Home in Hancock to help defray funeral-related expenses.
Brewer and Swope’s obituaries can be found on page B3 of the “News.”