Pottsville Area School Community Saddened By Loss

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POTTSVILLE -- Many young students in Pottsville showed up to class only to learn that they were missing two classmates Joy Brown, 8, and Jeremiah Brown, 7.

Superintendent Jeffrey Zwiebel says he got the horrific news around 4:30 a.m. Monday.

"It is extremely difficult to deal with, but we have to move forward to make sure we have the supports in place for the students over there," said Zwiebel.

Nikki Plachko's daughter is in third grade and was in Joy's class. She says from the moment she heard about the fire, it's been tough to handle.

"It's all I've thought about all day, just a terrible tragedy that shouldn't have happened," Plachko said.

"Very, very sad about it.  Makes you upset that it all happened, especially in this area," said John Luiken of Pottsville.

School district officials called in 10 counselors and social workers for students. Teachers got the news before the first school bell rang.

Some parents say they didn't tell their kids about the fire while others took a different approach.

"I just told her I had some sad news to tell her, that the whole family had passed away in a fire," said Plachko.

Many Pottsville area parents picking their students up from school say they'll be holding their kids a little closer, and struggling to help them understand this tragic loss.

"Makes me want to hug them a little bit closer every night, that's for sure."

Administrators, students and staff say the smiles of young Jeremiah and Joy won't be forgotten.

"They were happy children. A lot of the students cared for them, looked out for them," Zweibel added. "They will be greatly missed."

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