GLADWIN COUNTY (WJRT) (12/18/2018) - The Beaverton community is mourning the loss of a mother and two of her children who died in a house fire early Tuesday -- just a week before Christmas.
The fire broke out around 4 a.m. at a home in the 100 block of First Street in the small Gladwin County city. The fire got too hot for firefighters attempt a rescue inside.
"The first report that two persons were out of the residence and three people still inside unaccounted for," said Beaverton Fire Chief Matt Fruchey.
Several hours after the fire was extinguished, the bodies of 42-year-old Amy Athey and two of her children, Lydia and Rocco, were found in the burned out home.
Athey's husband Dan escaped the fire and was taken to Hurley Medical Center in Flint with severe burns. A teenage boy also escaped the fire, but it was not clear whether he was injured.
Fruchey said a cause for the fire had not been officially determined on Tuesday afternoon, but investigators believe a wood stove may have been a factor.
"Lydie was special," said family friend Cody Boyer.
The family was active in the Gladwin County theater community. Boyer brought a rock back from Iceland for a school project and Amy Athey recently had asked him to write a song for Lydia's upcoming birthday.
"I'm going to regret that I'm going to regret not being able to play that for the rest of my life," Boyer said.
Dale Taylor, who described Dan Athey as a "really good friend," said he's a well-known builder in the Gladwin County area.
"Everybody in this county knows Dan Athey is the guy to see," Taylor said. "He is a perfectionist."
About 1,000 people live in Beaverton, a small community south of Gladwin. Fruchey said the town is mourning this holiday season as it deals with one of its biggest tragedies in recent memory.
"It's a small area. We know each other," he said. "A hit to the community is a hit to everybody."
Boyer said Amy, Lydia and Rocco are going to be missed by many in Beaverton -- "and that is an understatement."