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Victims Fondly Remembered

POTTSVILLE — School administrators say they got the horrible news about the tragic fire around 4:30 a.m.  That’s when they learned that the deadly fire that killed six had taken the lives of two of their students, Jeremiah Brown, 7, who attended Schuylkill Intermediate Unit and Joy Brown, 8, who went to school at John S. Clarke Elementary.

The school and those who knew these young ones are left in shock.

A loving family was ripped apart as flames tore through their Pottsville Home. Two adults were killed and four children, Elijah, Emily, Jeremiah and Joy.

“The one woman who lives there was running out screaming ‘my kids are in there! My husbands in there! We need to get them out!’” Jeff Kuhlwind said.

That mother, Kelly Brown, was not home when the fire broke out.  She once worked at a grocery store in Pottsville. Her former coworkers were left in shock.

“I woke up this morning and I saw it and I couldn’t stop crying. Unbelievable, unbelievable,” said Christine Schwartz

Browns former coworkers say she loved her kids more than anything.

“They were the most respectful kids, they were playful. I used to see her walking down the street with her kids, holding their hand.  They would be right next to her,” recalled Schwartz.

Jeremiah was in second grade at Schuylkill Intermediate Unit. Joy was a third grader at John S. Clarke Elementary.

The school district brought in 10 counselors today for any students who needed them.

Teachers were told about the fire before the first school bell rang.

Back along Pierce Street, neighbor Michelle Schoenfelder says she watched the deadly fire, but wasn’t sure until later that her “buddy” 8-year-old Joy was trapped inside.

“Last night I said when everybody calmed down ‘I wonder if my buddy lives across the street or further up?’ and I found out this morning she was in the home.”

Schoenfelder said Joy used to visit to play with her cat. She, like many others, is at a loss for words.

“I just cried, I just (said) ‘not Joy, not Joy.’”

For complete Newswatch 16 coverage of this story, click here.