CINCINNATI — Maronique Sanders died following a house fire in North Fairmount March 12. Firefighters found Sanders in a closet on the second floor of a house in the 1900 block of Baltimore Avenue. She was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center – but she later died of her injuries.
A 13-year-old-boy, Maronique’s younger brother, was also inside the house at the time of the fire. He was transported to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for smoke inhalation.
Now her family, who said Maronique was a shining example of someone who simply wanted to use her life to help others, has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help out with the expenses of her funeral.
“It’s unbelievable. Heartbreaking. Numb. We’re still in shock,” Maronique’s sister Tierra Sanders said. “Literally before we got that call, I had dropped off Maronique 15 minutes before we got that call. It happened so quick.”
That call told Tierra and twin sister Kierra Sanders about the house fire and that Maronique was trapped inside.
“Our biggest goal was to make sure she made it out,” Tierra Sanders said. “By the time we got there – it was already too late.”
It was the second time tragedy struck this family in the past three months – their mother died on New Year’s Day.
“A lot. Miss her a lot. Every morning we get up and FaceTime each other,” Tierra Sanders said. “It’s different not waking up with her to FaceTime us.”
The sister they called Mar, who didn’t let a hearing disability stop her from being the first in the family with a college degree, worked as a daycare teacher.
“Very happy. Outgoing. Smiling. Always energetic. Always dancing,” Kierra Sanders said.
Maronique one day dreamed of opening a group home for homeless teenagers.
“Her number one goal was to try to help,” Tierra Sanders said. “She was an advocate for deaf kids and also adults.”
Now, this family is gathering donations for a burial and to help their 13-year-old brother – who lost everything in the fire. Maronique was supposed to take custody of him in the coming months.
“Even if it’s not much, we appreciate it,” Kierra Sanders said. “We just want to make sure our sister has the perfect going home service, and our brother has everything set."
The family is still determining when the funeral will take place.