GCMS teacher loses two children in a fire

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Candlelight vigil planned Feb. 19 in Harrison County

By Jamie Baker-Nantz

A sixth grade science teacher at Grant County Middle School suffered a terrible tragedy Feb. 15 when a fire at her Cynthiana home claimed the life of two of her daughters.

A candlelight prayer vigil for the Chesnut family has been planned for 6 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 19, on the lawn of the Harrison County Courthouse.

A fire broke out at the home of Shelly and Terry Chesnut, 309 Oddville Ave. around noon.

Jacqueline Chesnut, 5, died as a result of her injuries from the fire and Rachel, 4, died Thursday, Feb. 16 from her injuries.

Terry Chesnut, Shelly’s husband, and Rachel, were taken to Harrison Memorial Hospital where they were later airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center. Terry remains in critical condition.

Jacqueline was pronounced dead by the Harrison County Coroner on Feb. 15.

The Chesnuts have six other school-aged children.

Grant County Schools Superintendent Ron Livingood notified Grant County school personnel of the situation via e-mail in the afternoon and continued to provide updates as they became available.

“This terrible tragedy has touched the hearts of all, and this wonderful community has come together in support of the Chesnut family. Many have inquired as to how they can assist. As present, our efforts, as a school district, are centered on providing financial support. Their (the Chestnut’s) needs will be significant as they encounter expenses related to medical treatment, meals, transportation, housing, clothes, household goods and sadly, funerals, as well,” Livingood wrote on the district’s web site.

Livingood said the district will write one check to the family. Anyone from the community wishing to donate, should make checks payable to the Grant County Board of Education (indicate Chesnut Family on the memo line) and can be dropped off at the board office at 820 Arnie Risen Blvd. in Williamstown. Gas and retail store cards will also be collected.

See Thursday's Grant County News for more information.