WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP — The Lycoming County coroner says five people died over the weekend from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a poorly ventilated propane heater.
At least two of the young victims did not have life insurance, and their family is struggling to pay for their funeral.
A small tree was planted by 9-year-old Nariah Hawkins last week in her back yard in Beech Creek. Now her family has turned it into a memorial to Nariah and her 4-year old sister Cadee.
“They were my gems. They were my little angels,” grandmother Christine Brennan said.
The girls were among five people who died Saturday at a cabin near Montgomery. The Lycoming County coroner says five died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to a poorly vented propane heater.
Nathan Reese died along with Jacqueline Stackhouse, her 3-year-old son Austin Cousins, and Nariah and Cadee Hawkins.
“They were precious. They were always running around, always had smiles on their faces, never let anything really bother them,” Allison Cokeley said.
Nariah and Cadee’s mother Tara says she and her best friends went on a weekend getaway to the cabin with their children. Tara left to take another friend home, and decided to sleep at her friend’s. When she returned to the cabin, she learned what had happened.
The Hawkins girls did not have life insurance, and the family is trying to come up with $9,000 to give them a proper funeral.
There are a number of fundraisers going on to help the families with funeral expenses including donation jars being put at businesses around the area, including at Brothers Pizza in Beech Creek.
“Right now we have a sticky bun fundraiser for my work which is the Old State College Diner on West College Ave. I will be putting a can in there also,” Cokeley said.
Nariah and Cadee’s 6-year-old sister Serenity did not go along on the trip and she misses her sisters. She says she loved to roast marshmallows with them in their backyard. Their grandmother says they will never get over this.
“It was always ‘Mimi and Pappy, I miss you, I love you.’ Even if we would just go outside for a minute and go back in, ‘Mimi, I missed you, I love you.’ Always hugging and kissing us. We miss that,” Brennan said.
If you would like to donate to any of the families, you can send a donation to:
Betzer’s Funeral Home
108 North Main Street
Muncy, PA 17756
There are also online fundraisers available.