11-Year-Old Dies Trying to Save Dog in House Fire

'Happiest little girl' went upstairs when Georgia blaze started
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2024 5:15 PM CDT
Girl, 11, Dies in House Fire After Trying to Save Her Dog
   (Getty/Igor Vershinsky)

A small city in Georgia is mourning an 11-year-old girl who was killed trying to save her dog as her house burned. The funeral for Katelynn Elizabeth Simonds, who died Saturday, is planned for Friday in Griffin, USA Today reports. Her family told WAGA-TV that instead of rushing out of the house when the fire began, Katelynn went upstairs to get her dog, Little Man. She died before firefighters arrived.

Fire officials said an investigation determined that the fire started on the first floor and was accidental in origin. "Katelynn was the happiest little girl full of life, loved to laugh," said her mother, Kristy Beecher Rollins. The fifth grader was a cheerleader for the Spalding County Recreation Department. The funeral home described Katelynn as "a loving daughter with a generous spirit, beautiful heart and a wonderful smile." (More Georgia stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.