Mother, school mourns 3 children and grandmother killed in Bell County fire

Published: Jan. 7, 2020 at 8:42 AM EST
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Kentucky State Police and fire officials were on the scene of a fire in Bell County.

Officials say it happened off Highway 217 in the Hutch community near Middlesboro, around 5:45 a.m.

Investigators say a grandmother and her three children died. Police identified the victims as Beulah Mullins, 59, Sierra Posey, 12, Cynthia Posey, 11, and Shawn Posey, 8. Mullins had custody of her grandchildren for more than five years.

The mother of the Posey children is left trying to find a way to heal.

"All three of them were wonderful kids," said Jennifer Posey. "I was praying, I kept praying that they got out but unfortunately they did not...My three kids and my mother died in that fire."

Jennifer's entire world was taken from her Tuesday morning.

"I don't know. That makes me feel so numb. I can't believe they're gone," she said. "[Beulah] was nice...she helped anybody and everybody. Sierrah, she loved dogs and rabbits. Cynthia, she running around, played and hollered all the time, and played with her puppies. Shawn, he always liked to climb. I called him my little monkey. He would climb on anything."

This loss has left a hole in the heart of the region. The school the three children attended, Bell Central, set up a memorial in their honor. Teachers said Sierra, Cynthia and Shawn were as close as siblings come, the most caring children with the most heartwarming smiles imaginable.

Amongst the heartbreak, people at the school said there is some peace.

"We talked to them this morning and we explained that there was a house fire and immediately one of the kids is 'are they okay, is he okay?' And we were able to say, you know, Shawn, it was his class, he's with Jesus now and he is okay," said Jennifer Blankenship, Bell Central's principal. "And those kids took comfort in that and that's what we tell our kids, they're so much better off and if they could come back, they would choose not to come back because life is so much better where they're at than where we're at."

Counselors will be at the school for students and staff for as long as they are needed.

"It's been a rough day but it's been a day of togetherness," Blankenship added. "I am more proud when my students show their love and compassion and kindness towards others because that's what's important in life."

Many of the students said they plan to sing 'Amazing Grace' together Wednesday morning.

"We live in rural Eastern Kentucky. Everybody knows everybody and when you have four individuals and three of those involving kids, it's just heartbreaking and it's tough," said Kentucky State Police Trooper Shane Jacobs.

So far, investigators have not determined what caused the fire. However, they do not believe someone set it intentionally. The bodies were sent to Frankfort for autopsies.