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11-Year-Old Girl Loses Her Life Attempting to Save 2 Puppies Caught in House Fire

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Rilee Beisler of Sarasota County, Florida, was an animal lover. Just 11 years old, she’d moved with her mom six months ago to Sun N Fun RV Resort.

She had two pitbull puppies who were her pride and joy, and according to family members, it was her love for those two pups that led her to lose her life trying to save them.

On Wednesday, two fires broke out at two homes in the resort. Rilee managed to escape her burning RV, but she quickly realized her puppies were still inside.

Laura Alden, Rilee’s aunt, said even though the neighbors tried to stop her, Rilee went back in to save the puppies.

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“She had a heart of gold,” Alden told WFLA-TV. “She loves those dogs. They were a pain in the butt. They were 7-month-old Pitbull puppies and, you know, puppies are hyper but she loved those dogs and those were her babies.”

“She was loving, a really sweet girl — creative, artsy, loved to mess with her hair and do crazy stuff with her hair. To us, Rilee died trying to be a hero, save those dogs, and that speaks volumes about who she was, because you know she was out of the fire, she was out of the house, and she went back in it.”

“Deputies received multiple 911 calls around 5:45 p.m., in the 1100 block of Iowa Street, for the report of two homes on fire,” the Sarasota County (FL) Sheriff’s Office shared on Thursday.

“Witnesses reported seeing a young female enter one of the homes and although bystanders tried to render aid, the female never exited the home. According to witnesses, the child may have been attempting to save her dogs from the fire.

“Tragically, the child has been identified as 11-year-old Rilee Beisler, of Sarasota. Our thoughts are with Rilee’s family today.

“The fire investigation is being led by the State Fire Marshal while detectives continue the death investigation in partnership with the Medical Examiner’s Office. At this time, the incident does not seem criminal in nature and Rilee is believed to have died due to smoke inhalation.”

Alden has started a fundraiser for her sister, Megan, who is Rilee’s mother. So far, she’s raised over $11,000.

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“My person, my best friend, my sister Megan lost her 11 year old daughter last night, my sweet God daughter and niece Rilee Michelle,” Alden posted on Facebook. “There was a house fire and before anyone could stop her, Rilee ran into the house to save their two puppies. Neither Rilee or the dogs made it out of the house.

“I’m by Megans side now and she is beyond frazzled and devastated. Please share this fundraiser, anything helps.

“Not only did she lose her sweet baby girl, she’s lost her home and everything she owns. Please send your prayers right now, they’re greatly needed.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking