Family talks about house fire that claimed 4-year-old’s life

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POCAHONTAS, Ill. – Some days, Jeremia and Tarah Nance find it hard to get out of bed. Some days are better than others. They're trying to put one foot in front of the other and start their lives over after a fire destroyed all of their belongings and claimed the life of their four-year-old daughter at their home in Pocahontas, Illinois.

The fire started in the middle of the night on October 4. Tarah woke up and smelled smoke. She ran to get the kids from their bedrooms on the second floor while Jeremiah went out their bedroom window onto the roof.

Their 13-year-old son, Zackary, climbed out his bedroom window. Tarah had her 16-month-old twin daughters and four-year-old Hannah with her. She put one baby out the window, then the second baby. She climbed out and Zackary, who was already on the roof, grabbed Hannah's hand, who was just behind her mom.

Suddenly the window slammed shut on Zackary's wrist. Hannah was screaming for her mother. Tarah broke the window with her elbow. Thick black smoke poured out and knocked her back. The home was engulfed in flames. Tarah couldn't reach her daughter and had to get off the roof with the other three children before it was too late.

Tarah said her biggest regret was not going back in to get Hannah. Tarah said the smoke detector didn’t go off. The family had changed the batteries three before, so it should have gone off and gave them time to escape. No one is sure why the smoke alarm didn’t work.

The Nance family wants Hannah remembered for her love of life, dancing, and singing. She loved the song ‘Let It Go’ from the movie Frozen. Her favorite color was purple. She is dearly missed by all who knew her.

The Nance family has established a GoFundMe page to help them start the long process of getting their lives back together.

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