Authorities are still investigating the cause of a fatal fire last Friday that claimed the life of an 11-year-girl; however, no wrongdoing is suspected.
“We and the state fire marshal’s office are investigating the actual cause of the fire, but foul play is not expected,” said Kentucky State Police Tpr. William Petry, public affairs officer for Post 9 in Pikeville. “We usually keep this type of investigation open for several months while we explore all options.”
Ayla Eastwood died in the fire and her mother Meredith Phillips Eastwood remains hospitalized in intensive care as of presstime.
Petry said a call was received a call just before 4 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, that a house at the Phillips Branch of Dix Fork was on fire and there was the possibility of someone being inside the residence. Ayla’s body was found shortly afterwards. Meredith Eastwood was taken to the hospital via ambulance for smoke inhalation, burns and a possible broken ankle.
The Big Creek Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene with the Belfry VFD offering assistance. The residence was destroyed.
Ayla Breen Eastwood was born Aug. 14, 2008, in Pikeville. She was the daughter of Adam Jason Eastwood and Meredith Hope Phillips Eastwood. She was preceded in death by her grandmother, Brenda Phillips. She was a 6th grade student at Mullins Middle School.
Other survivors include her brother, Keaton Isaiah Eastwood; grandparents, Howard Phillips, Andrew and Debbie Eastwood; her special friends, Priscilla Reed and Melanie Reed.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by R.E. Rogers Funeral Home of Belfry
The East Kentucky Dream Center and Over the Moon Photography in Pikeville are both currently conducting fundraisers for the family.
Within 48 hours, East Kentucky Dream Center had raised more than $5,000 worth of donations in the form of cash, household items, kitchen and items/appliances for the family. A bed has been donated and clothing has been donated
For more information or to make a donation, call the East Kentucky Dream Center at, (606)-766-3434, visit the “East Kentucky Dream Center” Facebook page or visit, www.ekdc.info.
“I just feel like if you’re ever in a position where you can help others, do it,” said Kenzi Moon of Over the Moon Photography. “They lost everything. I haven’t lost anything in helping them, but I’ve gained a lot. Seeing our community come together like this is one of the best things I’ve ever experienced.”
Donations to the Over the Moon fundraiser can be made directly at, https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8jYYgbMiBF.
News-Express Staff Writer Nicole Ziege contributed to this story.