HARRISBURG -- Three people, a mother and her twin daughters, died in an overnight house fire early Wednesday morning in Harrisburg.
Family and friends have identified the victims as Amanda Tashae (Wilkins) Peacock, 39, and daughters Alaysia Kenya Arrie Peacock and Malaysia Sierra Leone Peacock, both 14. The daughters were in eighth grade at Harrisburg Middle School; mom Amanda was a pharmacy technician at the Walmart Pharmacy in Harrisburg.
The fire broke out before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday at 322 Pacific St. (formerly McIlrath Street).
"The city of Harrisburg is grieving with (the family)," Harrisburg Mayor John McPeek said. "They are in our prayers."
Harrisburg Fire Chief John Gunning said the cause of the fire is undetermined and the investigation continues.
Firefighters got the alarm at about 1:45 a.m. The rear of the east side of the home collapsed off the foundation.
He said he had heard, but could not confirm, reports that a male jumped from a second-story window to escape the fire.
The Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office is conducting the fire investigation.
Harrisburg Police Chief David Morris said both his department and Illinois State Police also were called in response to the fire. Morris said Illinois State Police's Department of Criminal Investigation would handle any criminal investigation if one develops, but no indication of that was suggested on Thursday.
Morris said to his knowledge, the three deceased and the twins' high-school aged brother Rajah Peacock were the only ones in the house at the time of the fire.
Harrisburg Unit District 3 Superintendent Mike Gauch said the school district quickly got three crisis teams into the middle school and one at the high school to do grief counseling for students, teachers and staff.
"It's a tragedy. I don't know how else to explain it," Gauch said, as he drove back to Harrisburg from Marion, where he bought clothes for two surviving siblings, Rajah and Kyleigh Peacock. The latter was away at college.
"They lost everything," Gauch said. "We consider ourselves a family. Our hearts are saddened (and) as a district, we have to lift them up and give them everything we can.
"We will grieve together," he added. "They will always be in our hearts."
Several churches are also involved in the grief counseling, Gauch said, and added the staff at the schools are trying to keep the day as normal as possible for the kids.
Gunning added that the Eldorado Fire Department and the Marion Technical Rescue Team assisted Harrisburg with the fire.
The Harrisburg community has been quick to respond, with at least two GoFundMe pages set up for the Peacock family. Find them online at www.gofundme.com/rz9p5k and www.gofundme.com/k3427.
Dorrisville Baptist Church, 1300 Feazel St. in Harrisburg, is accepting clothing donations.
A public prayer service at New Life Gospel Church on Grape Street in Harrisburg was held Wednesday night for anyone in the community grieving the loss.
Funeral arrangements for Amanda Tashae (Wilkins) Peacock, 39, Alaysia Kenya Arrie Peacock, 14, and Malaysia Sierra Leone Peacock, 14, are pending at Felty Funeral Home in Carrier Mills.
Another fire occurred overnight at about the same time on Shaw Street. No one was injured, as a woman who lived there was able to escape, authorities said. The Carrier Mills Fire Department assisted on that fire, Gunning said.