JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The identity of a nine year old girl who died in a house fire Thursday night has been released. It happened around 6:00 p.m. in the 2000 block of Monaco Street.
"She was just a joy to have here and we're going to miss her," said Wilkins Elementary School Principal Rachel Ellis, Ph.D.
Tirysha Taylor was known for her smile, her love for drawing and aspirations to become a doctor. On Friday morning Taylor's desk at Wilkins Elementary School sat empty. Principal Ellis and grief counselors told her third grade class what happened.
"They didn't take it too well, but they were very excited about drawing pictures and giving adjectives to describe her and put together a memorial booklet for the parents. So that brightened their day because there was so many good things you could say about her," said Ellis.
The tragic fire was sparked just after 6:00 Thursday evening at the Taylor family home. Neighbors rushed outside to find flames shooting through the roof and windows.
"It was fully engulfed. It seemed like in a matter of minutes the fire had taken over. There's nothing that nobody could have done as far as help so we just had to wait for the firemen to arrive," said Gregory Jackson who lives two houses away from the Taylor's home.
Taylor's teenage brother Brian and parents, Debbie Riley and Rakeem Muhammad Taylor, were able to escape.
"I did keep seeing a young man saying my daughter is in there, my daughter is in there," said Jackson.
Firefighters discovered the nine year old in a master bedroom. The Hinds County Coroner said she died from smoke inhalation and severe burns. Now Wilkins Elementary is feeling her loss and clinging to her memory.
"Everyone in this school in every grade level probably knew Tirysha. Even if they didn't know her name they knew her face and her smile," said Principal Ellis.
Jackson Fire Department investigators are still looking into what caused the fire. Preliminary reports indicate the family's Christmas tree may be to blame. The Taylor's home and all of their possessions are a total loss.
©2009 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.