SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – An 11-year-old girl died Wednesday after family members say she tried saving her two puppies during a house fire at the Sun N Fun RV Resort in Sarasota.
According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, deputies received multiple 911 calls around 5:45 p.m. for two homes on fire on Iowa Drive.
Witnesses told deputies a young girl, later identified as Rilee Beisler, went into one of the homes and never came back out despite bystanders trying to help.
Laura Alden, Beisler’s aunt, told 8 On Your Side’s Allyson Henning that the young girl went back into the house to save her dogs.
“She had a heart of gold,” Alden said. “She loves those dogs. They were a pain in the butt. They were 7-month-old Pitbull puppies and, you know, puppies are hyper but she loved those dogs and those were her babies.”
Family members say Beisler was a 6th-grade student at McIntosh Middle School and moved to the RV park just six months ago with her mother.
“She was loving, a really sweet girl – creative, artsy, loved to mess with her hair and do crazy stuff with her hair,” Alden said. “To us, Rilee died trying to be a hero… and that speaks volumes about who she was.”
The cause of the fire is being investigated and will be determined by the State Fire Marshal. A death investigation is also underway in partnership with the Medical Examiner’s Office. Deputies say they believe Beisler died due to smoke inhalation.