11-year-old fire victim still tears up as she thinks - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

11-year-old fire victim still tears up as she thinks about Pine Harbour

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Shaniyah Carmichael (Felicia Allyn/WCIV) Shaniyah Carmichael (Felicia Allyn/WCIV)

By Tessa Spencer
tspencer@abcnews4.com

MOUNT PLEASANT, S. C. (WCIV) -- Behind the large, bright eyes of 11-year-old Shaniyah Carmichael lies memories of a day that she will likely never forget.

Her family's belongings were destroyed in a fire as she stood by helplessly, watching.

Smoke from the mid-afternoon fire at the Pine Harbour Apartments on May 31, 2012 could be seen from miles away.

Shaniyah's mother, Julonda Carmichael raced home as fast as she could after receiving a call from a neighbor. As she arrived to see what was left of her home, her children greeted her.

"Yes, mama. Thank you for coming!," said Shaniyah. Her sister, mother and family pet were together again.

Among the personal belongings destroyed in apartment D-70, Shaniyah's dance costumes.

The young aspiring dancer and choreographer had just performed in her first leading role at a dance recital two weeks before the Goose Creek fire.

"To go from having one of the best moments of your life, thus far, to two weeks later losing everything, it's just really hard," said Jameshia Means, Shaniyah's dance instructor.

Means describes the young prodigy as an "energetic spirit" who just "captures you if you're in the audience watching her."

The Cannon Street YMCA, where Shaniyah dances, quickly organized a donation drive to collect clothing and money for the Carmichael family.

"We can't replace the memories of pictures and trophies and things can't be replaced. But, we can do something to help her," Means says.

Shaniyah's eyes still well up with tears as she talks about the devastating fire.

"Every time I go to Goose Creek, I just think about what happened, the flames," she said.

Her mother plans to seek counseling for the family to ensure that they're okay as they move forward.

And speaking of moving forward, the Carmichaels had renters insurance at the time of the fire. They will be able to replace most, if not all, of what was lost.

Officials are still investigating the fire that displaced 46 residents and killed three people.

Three people were arrested in connection with a meth lab that was found in the building where the fire started.


  • Tessa Spencer

    Email: tspencer@abcnews4.com Reporter Profile




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