MOUNTAIN VIEW, Ark. (KTHV) - "I used to go say 'hi' to them out in the hallways. I used to pick the little daughter up, go up and poke her and tickle her and everything," said Evan Schneider as he reflected on the ruins of his cousins' home.
Evan Schneider can't horseplay with his cousins anymore. A house fire took their lives Friday morning. Now flowers of sympathy bring the only glimpse of beauty to the smoke covered property.
The blaze killed Jeff and Carol Buerlein and their two daughters-9-year-old Mollie and 13-year-old Callie. Authorities don't know what started the blaze, but estimate it began between 4 and 4:30 a.m. and completely engulfed the house in roughly an hour. A neighbor called in the fire to the Stone County Sheriff's Office then rushed to the scene.
"He responded to it pretty quick and said by the time he got there it was already on the ground," explained Lance Bonds, Stone County Sheriff. "The house is a complete loss. We believe the mother was trying to get the kids out. We believe the mother was trying to get the two girls out. The way it appeared, she had one at her head and one at her feet."
Carol Buerline spent the last decade serving students and pouring her heart out for education at Mountain View High School, and today those students shared messages of love and memory.
"She's just one that's so concerned about her students. One that takes pride in what they do and checks on them. If there was any problems, she was there for them, she's part of our family," said Mountain View Superintendent Rowdy Ross.
Carol taught ninth grade at Mountain View and Superintendent Rowdy Ross said she always went above and beyond.
Schneider, who is also a former student, looked back back to the teacher's tough love. "She used to send me into the principal's office because I was kind of rambunctious in there, and if I made a bad grade on a test, she would make me retake it until I got a good grade on it."
School was not dismissed for the day, but students who were distraught were allowed to go home. Others left a memorial in the hallway, sending prayers and thoughts to their beloved teacher and her family.
For now, the community looks for answers and remembers the love of the family.
According to family members, the Buerleins did not have house insurance, so a donation fundhas been set up at First National Bank of Izard County.