A shocked community went into action Thursday morning offering condolences to a grieving local family and collecting necessities to help them in the days ahead.
Jason Woydziak, Ardmore Fire Department public information officer, confirmed early Thursday a blaze reported about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday at 1106 Martin Luther King Boulevard had claimed the lives of 6-year-old Jerry Williamson Jr. and his grandmother, 73-year-old Georgia Mae Douglas.
Woydziak praised the child’s father, Jerry Williamson Sr. for his efforts to help his family escape the flames before firefighters arrived on the scene.
“The father had managed to save his baby, his wife and a 7-year-old son,” Woydziak said. “He had sustained several cuts from window glass that was broken out in his efforts to rescue his family. The house was completely filled with smoke. It was total chaos.”
Once on scene, Ardmore firefighters had the blaze under control in about 10 minutes and the bodies of the Jefferson Elementary School student and his grandmother were recovered. Woydziak said the investigation indicated it was probable both victims had become disoriented due to thick smoke.
A space heater being operated by an extension cord in the living room of the house was listed as the cause of the blaze.
“The extension cord overheated and caught fire,” Woydziak said, adding the residence was considered a total loss and the blaze had consumed all of the family’s possessions.
However, a concerned community was already reaching out with helping hands.
Kim Holland, Ardmore City Schools superintendent, said Jefferson Elementary principal Casey Hall arrived at the school early Thursday morning and prepared a team to ensure students, teachers and staff had support at the school. Holland said Hall also had a meeting with  teachers before students arrived.
The superintendent also confirmed counselors, both in-district and from the community, were made available to the students and staff.
In addition, Hall immediately went to work organizing an effort to gather supplies for the family of the victim.
“The Jefferson community has come together in this time,” Holland said. “At this point we’re just making sure we’re together and here for one another.”
Holland, who had also arrived early Thursday morning at the elementary school, spent the day  with students and faculty to provide support for those mourning the loss.
Activities scheduled at Jefferson Elementary were postponed or canceled for the day.
Jerry had been a first-grader at the school. Holland described his grandmother as “very involved in the school and community.”
Meanwhile, across town at the scene of the fatality fire a memorial of balloons,flowers and stuffed animals began to take shape against the charred remains of the family home. Downtown the Grace Center posted a list on Facebook of immediate needs being collected for the family.