Classmates Remember Three Elementary Students Killed in Fire

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DAYTON, Iowa -- The loss of a mother and three children has left an Iowa community with a hole in its heart.

"It's like our collective elementary heart now has three holes in it that cannot be replaced," said Southeast Webster Grand School Principal Dan Grandfield.

Amber Sorensen and her three kids, 9-year-old Riley Sorenson, 6-year-old Autumn Sorenson and 4-year-old Brayden Sorenson, died in a house fire in Boxholm Sunday morning. All three kids went to school at Southeast Webster Grand Elementary in Dayton.

Brayden was in pre-K and his teacher said he was always eager to learn and had a smile on his face. Older sisters, Autumn, a kindergartner, and 4th grader Riley, were described as happy, helpful and friendly.

The district brought in a crisis team that included counselors, clergy and nurses. They met with both students and staff on Monday.

While some classmates just needed a hug or a shoulder to cry on, others put their words to paper. Students made posters with messages like, "It's OK to cry" and "We'll miss you."

They plan to give the handwritten notes to their friends' father, John Sorenson.

"We miss them very much. We can't explain a loss like this," said Grandfield.

The crisis team will be back at the school Tuesday.

Fire officials believe a space heater sparked the flames. The family was using it to heat a rabbit hutch in a three season room.


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