Coping with the Loss of a Young Girl

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JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP -- Firefighters and emergency responders in part of Lackawanna County will be meeting with a grief counselor after a little girl died from injuries she suffered in a fire.

There were also counselors available at her school on Friday.

The first grader passed away Thursday, hours after being pulled from her burning home near Mount Cobb.

Investigators from an insurance company spent part of the day digging through what's left of the Bruch family home, trying to determine the exact cause of what's considered an accidental fire.

The family lost just about everything early Thursday morning, but most importantly they lost their little girl. Trista, 7, died hours later, and it's not just the family coping with her death.

"This is one of the hardest things most of us have ever had to deal with in the fire service," said chief Matt Bistran of the Jefferson Township Fire Company.

Chief Bistran helped arrange for grief counselors to meet with firefighters who were at the scene.

When they got to the house they found the place a ball of flames. A neighbor had already pulled Trista and her mom Brenda from the burning home.

There was little firefighters could do to help them or the house, but it's still hard.

"It's an extremely helpless feeling, continually asking yourself why, why did it have to happen, why did it have to be a child. Is there anything we could have done differently," explained Bistran.

There is a void at Jefferson Elementary School where Trista was a first grader. Of course, a lot of the boys and girls have questions like, "why is she not here, and what happened to her?"

"Trista was an absolute joy. She had a love of life. She had a smile for everyone she encountered," said Judy Castrogiovanni, principal.

Castrogiovanni wore a heart sticker on her lapel. She said a student was handing them out to remember Trista.

"They are just remarkably resilient, and I've seen them in the halls putting their arms around one another and supporting one another. It's beautiful to see them support each other," said Castrogiovanni.

Investigators said Trista breathed in too much smoke in the fire. It's clear the flames stole a special young life.

"There was never a day when she wasn't helping the kids around her see the magic in life. She's the type of little soul that is irreplaceable," said Castrogiovanni.

Trista's brother, Brandon Bruch was released from the hospital on Friday.  Her mom, Brenda, is still in critical condition.

The Jefferson Township Fire Company has set up a fund to benefit the Bruch family.

You can donate to the fund at any Pennstar bank in our area.