Muhlenberg County Schools Help Students Cope with Tragic Loss

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- “When I first got the call yesterday morning, very early, I contacted Mr. McCarty (Superintendent) and my first line was, we are going to need help,” said Brent Hardison, Longest Elementary School Principal.

This is one, of many, similar responses from Muhlenberg County School officials, after learning of Thursday morning's fatal house fire.

The Watson family's home went up in flames after a baseboard heater started a blaze. The mother and eight of her children died due to smoke inhalation. The father and one daughter remain in burn units at Vanderbilt Hospital.

This is now day two of learning to cope with these horrific deaths. The school district's crisis response team has been on site with students and teachers, responding to questions that can't be answered.

"We still respect and validate their feelings, their fears and their sadness and we meet them right there and try to help them," said Patty Williams, District Crisis Response Team Leader.

Principals and teachers, reflected on the Watson family's children. The two oldest teenagers were freshmen at Muhlenberg County High School East Campus.

"Kenzie and Madison were as sweet as they could be. You could always guarantee that if you wanted a little hug, they could give you a little hug," said Donna Bumps, Principal at Muhlenberg County High School East Campus.

Principal Bumps spoke about the emotions felt yesterday.

"During that one lunch period, the whole table sat pretty empty yesterday. So the students just rallied together and showed how very supportive they are of each other," said Donna Bumps, Principal at Muhlenberg County High School East Campus.

13-year-old Morgan, is remembered by the students and staff of North Muhlenberg Middle School.

"One of the things I can remember about the students who were here at North Middle was how close of a family they had. You could really tell they were family oriented and they helped each other. They always knew where each other were," said Steve Sparks, Principal of Muhlenberg North Middle School.

Longest Elementary School remembers nine-year-old, Emily, eight-year-old Samuel, six-year-old Raegan, and four-year-old twins, Mark and Nathaniel.

"We had five wonderful students who went here. To one day have them and one day not, is a very tough thing to go through. We are thinking about ways we can honor those students," said Brent Hardison, Longest Elementary School Principal.

The school flags were flown at half staff today. A neighbor placed flowers in the family's yard, in remembrance of those lost.

Donations can be dropped off at Old National Bank in Central City. If you wish to mail your donation, address envelope to Old National Bank, PO Box 549, Central City, Ky. 42330. Please mark as Calvary Baptist Church Fund for Watson Family.

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