A Virginia couple is mourning the death of their 10-year-old daughter, who died suddenly on Wednesday after a large tree fell on the family’s Warrenton home.
Police say Lydia Gherghis became trapped after heavy rains sent the large tree crashing into her bedroom. A neighbor called police around 10:25 p.m., reporting that someone may be trapped in the nearby home, according to a police report from the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s deputies arrived and found the little girl unresponsive.
“Lydia was a beautiful and kind girl who was the embodiment of the phrase ‘full of life,’ ” a relative wrote on a GoFundMe page for the family, describing the death as a “tragic accident.”
“Her smile and laugh were contagious and she always had a twinkle in her eyes.”
Sgt. James Hartman says the ground became saturated with rain water and the “very, very large” tree crashed into the girl’s second-floor bedroom.
“The tree crashed through the roof into the bedroom and on top of the bed and pinned her,” he says. Hartman says a tactical unit from Prince William County lifted the tree off Gherghis, but her injuries were too severe and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officials had to escort Gherghis’ devastated parents from the home, for fear that the house would collapse, according to NBC. Unable to save Gherghis, first responders lined the walkway from the family’s home as the girls’ body was taken to a hearse to be transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Manassas, Hartman tells PEOPLE.
“They did it out of respect and to honor her,” Hartman tells PEOPLE. “They were very affected by this emotionally. Some of the folks were parents themselves.”
Friends and family members shared photos and memories of Gherghis on the family’s GoFundMe page. One person posted several photos of the smiling girl, and wrote, “Lydia was such a sweet girl who will forever hold a special place in my heart. I am heartbroken for her family.”
Photos of the scene showed the large tree fallen beside the damaged home. Despite acknowledging the heavy rains, police said in the report that they are investigating all possible causes of the collapse.
Last month, a woman died in Fairfax County after a tree fell on her home, according to WSET. In June, a 14-year-old Boy Scout died during a summer camping trip when a tree fell on his tent due to heavy rains in Covington, Georgia.