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Mom died trying to save her kids from house fire. Her organ donations helped 8 other people

Madison Hope Summerville had just celebrated her 23rd birthday, according to her family.
Posted at 8:20 AM, Feb 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-25 08:20:46-05

A 23-year-old mother who died after helping save her three young children from a house fire has now helped eight other people through organ donations, her family and the local coroner said.

Madison Hope Summerville celebrated her 23rd birthday just three days before a house fire broke out on February 15, according to a verified GoFundMe page set up by her sister.

Summerville was able to get one of her children out of their mobile home, in Spalding County, Georgia, County Fire Operations Chief Michael Byrd told CNN.

The child began “screaming for help” and was discovered by someone who was at a nearby recycling center, according to Spalding County Fire Marshal Rocky White.

That individual alerted a fire station nearby and fire authorities - along with two neighbors – rushed to the home and rescued the mother and two children, who were still inside, White said.

“The only thing we knew to do was get the babies out,” Bradley Wright, one of the neighbors who ran toward the blaze, told CNN affiliate WSB.

“So my (fiancée) snatches the door open and she pulls out the first kid, and I performed CPR on him for about 10 minutes,” Wright said. “I got kids about that age, and the only thing I knew was what any father would do: just step into action and make sure the babies were all right.”

Summerville had refused to leave the home until all of her children were safely outside, WSB reported, citing family members.

She died of smoke inhalation a day after the fire, Spalding County coroner Michael Pryor said. Summerville was an organ donor, and with her donation “helped eight other people,” Pryor said.

“She was amazing in the fact that she did her absolute best to try to get her children out… to the point that it basically cost her her life,” Pryor added.

Summerville’s sister described her as “an amazing mother, wife, sister, daughter, and friend” on the GoFundMe page.

“She loved spending time with her babies and her niece and nephew and she also loved fishing rain or shine,” according to the page. “Madison was an all around bubbly person who would make you laugh instantly.”

The fundraiser was set up to help cover Summerville’s funeral costs, her sister said. It had raised more than $23,000 as of Thursday night.

Authorities have not said what caused the house fire, only that it was accidental, according to WSB.