SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — An 11-year-old girl died Wednesday after family members said she tried saving her two puppies during a house fire at the Sun N Fun RV Resort in Sarasota.
According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, deputies received multiple 911 calls around 5:45 p.m. for two homes on fire.
Witnesses told deputies a young girl, later identified as Rilee Beisler, went into one of the homes and never came back out despite bystanders trying to help.
Laura Alden, Beisler’s aunt, told NewsNation affiliate WFLA that the young girl went back into the house to save her dogs.
“She had a heart of gold,” Alden said. “She loves those dogs. They were a pain in the butt. They were 7-month-old Pitbull puppies and, you know, puppies are hyper, but she loved those dogs and those were her babies.”
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Family members said Beisler was a 6th-grade student at McIntosh Middle School and moved to the RV park just six months ago with her mother.
“She was loving, a really sweet girl – creative, artsy, loved to mess with her hair and do crazy stuff with her hair,” Alden said. “To us, Rilee died trying to be a hero…and that speaks volumes about who she was.”
The cause of the fire is being investigated and will be determined by the State Fire Marshal. A death investigation is also underway in partnership with the Medical Examiner’s Office. Deputies said they believe Beisler died due to smoke inhalation.