Barbara Ponders dies in St. Lucie County house fire

8-year-old being flown to burn center

A Treasure Coast grandmother has died from injuries she suffered in a devastating house fire Monday in Ft. Pierce.

 

The house at 25th and Juanita has been boarded up, it sits as a shell of its former self.  At a motel nearby, Antonio Andrews scrolls through his phone, looking for recent pictures of his loved ones.

 

His grandmother, Barbara Ponders, died Monday night at the hospital.  Andrews says doctors told them at first, they thought she would make it.

 

"An hour and a half later, they said just get all the family you can to get down here because it doesn't look good," said Andrews.

 

Andrews's grandfather is still hospitalized.  While the fire marshal's office will determine the official cause, It was likely the grandfather's careless smoking that caused this fire, a fire that left 8 year-old Demetris Gollett, with serious burns.

 

Firefighters smashed through a window to find the boy unconscious in a back hallway.

 

"Didn't know it was a child at first until we grabbed him and felt that he was small.  That's when it hits you a little harder," said Lt. Steve Burns on Monday, not long after he made the rescue.

 

Now Demetris, a third grader from White City Elementary, is scheduled to fly to a specialized pediatric burn center in Ohio.

 

"He's not able to talk but he moves little movements.  He understands what you're saying," said Antonio Andrews of his nephew.

 

Andrews' mother is working to set up an account so people can help the family long term.  The Red Cross has stepped in to provide immediate assistance.  

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