Via Seamus Garrahy and Colonel (ret) Wayne Morris, I thought you all would want to help out this military family:
Family and friends:
Many have asked via phone and e-mail how you can help us deal with this family tragedy. We have also promised you an update on the children. The best way you can help is to assist us in caring for the children who lost their mothers.
As many of you already know, our daughters, Jayme Lowenberg (28) and Michelle Gonzalez (25), died as a result of a fast moving fire in Jayme's home in Jamesburg, New Jersey in the early hours of July 3rd. They gave up their lives saving their three children Alyssa Gonzalez (2), Adam Gonzalez (10 mos.) and Derek Lowenberg (10 mos.).
The fire occurred shortly after midnight on 3 Jul. Due to the fast-moving nature of the fire, Jayme and Michelle could not get from the second floor to the exits with the children and had to retreat to the attic. Jayme lowered Derek to one of the first individuals on the scene from an attic window; she then fell from the window and died at the scene. No one knew Michelle and the other children were in the house. After the fire was extinguished, the firefighters discovered them in the house on the stairs to the attic. Michelle shielded both her children from the flames by tucking them under her. She never regained consciousness and did not survive her injuries; she died on 7 Jul. Both sisters were buried together at Franklin Memorial Park in North Brunswick, New Jersey on 9 Jul.
All 3 children suffered varying degrees of smoke inhalation and burns. They were stabilized at a local hospital on 3 Jul are were transported and admitted to Saint Barnabas Memorial Hospital in Livingston, New Jersey on 4 Jul. All were placed on ventilators (intubated and sedated) for several days due to inhalation of hot smoke from the fire.
Derek: Admitted to Pediatric ICU. Smoke inhalation and 2d degree burns to his neck. He was discharged on 13 Jul.
Adam: Admitted to Pediatric ICU. Smoke inhalation but no burns. He was discharged on 14 Jul.
Alyssa: Admitted to Burn ICU via air medevac due to burns. Smoke inhalation, minor burns to right hand, second degree burns to her left ear, second and third degree burns to her left hand and arm. She is scheduled for skin graft surgery on 19 Jul to repair 3d degree burns to a significant portion of her left forearm, elbow and upper arm. She is expected to remain at St. Barnabas until sometime the week of 26 Jul.
Follow up care:
Burns are not a significant issue for the boys but both will require follow up care by pediatricians for some time for any respiratory issues and any developmental issues that may result from smoke inhalation.
Although Alyssa appears to have suffered less effects from smoke inhalation, she will require follow up outpatient and home care in coordination with a burn center in Northern Virginia (To Be Determined) over the next several months for issues related to her burns, including blood clot concerns.
We have set up a fund in the children's name at USAA Bank to help with immediate expenses as well as their education. The following information is provided for those who wish to contribute:
Make checks payable to "The Gonzalez and Lowenberg Children Fund"
Mail checks to:
The Gonzalez and Lowenberg Children Fund c/o Rosie Rose
17861 Meadow Drive
Bridgeville, DE 19933
This is a news article about the fire:
We thank everyone for their prayers, e-mails and phone calls of support and will ensure that the children remember the sacrifices made by their mothers.
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)
" Not on my watch nor the watch that follows me for I will ensure they are fully trained."
Please spread the word.