'Glace Bay has been challenged': Funeral held for teen girl who died in Cape Breton, N.S. house fire
Community members and loved ones gathered at a funeral home in Glace Bay, N.S. on Saturday to fondly remember a teenaged girl taken too soon.
Madison Kelly, along with her 15-year-old friend Brea McKenzie, died in an Oct. 8 fire at a home on Brookside Street in Glace Bay.
McKenzie's mother, Laureen, is recovering in a Halifax hospital with severe burns.
On Saturday, everyone from Kelly's closest friends to some of the first responders who attended the fire, came out to pay their respects.
"It's a huge loss when you lose a student, a 16-year-old kid," said Glace Bay MLA John White.
"Everybody was grieving and they were leaning on each other. You could see the support. I'm very proud of this town for stepping up and supporting each other."
The service was less about the tragedy and more about Kelly herself.
Affectionately known to most people as "Maddy," she was remembered as a high school girl who was full of life and had plenty of friends.
There were some lighter moments too, as pastor Dave Sawler recounted some of the things Kelly's friends told him she might say about the service.
"'Don't make a scene'" said Pastor Dave Sawler. "It's too late, someone's already made a scene - We made a scene. 'Don't be sad,' again, it's too late. It's already been done." Sawler said.
The fire - and the loss of young life - is something that has been felt throughout the community. From a candlelit vigil to a makeshift memorial at the scene of the fire, people have been coming together to support one another, and the families.
"Glace Bay has been challenged and I believe we rose to the occasion," White said.
"This is the beginning of it, by the way. Emotions that are coming (and) are unexpected. So there's a lot for the community to do. And I believe that message was today - to be there in the coming days, and weeks and months and even years."
The take-home message from the funeral service was to honour Kelly's legacy by being kind, as Sawler summed up before the crowd filed out.
"In the next couple of weeks and months, some of you may find some incredible ways to honour the memory of Maddy, and I would encourage you to do that."
Funeral arrangements for McKenzie have not yet been finalized.