Fire claims granddaughter of Lockhart woman

Published 12:02 am Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Lockhart woman is mourning the loss of her granddaughter, one of the four Mississippi college students who lost their lives in a Central Alabama motel fire this past weekend.

Frances Peacock, a resident of Kickapoo Street, said her granddaughter, 19-year-old Jaslynn McGee, was a student at the Mississippi University for Women pursuing her dream of becoming a pediatrician.

“Jaslynn is my daughter Jacqueline’s (McGee) daughter, and they lived in Corinth, Miss.,” Peacock said. “Everyone in Florala knows Jacqueline and her twin, Jasper.

“Jaslynn always said she was going to be a pediatrician,” she said. “She was so smart and so pretty. It’s hard to deal with, her being gone.”

Peacock said McGee and the three other women, all freshmen who lived in the same dormitory, traveled to Birmingham for the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Sometime Saturday night, a fire broke out in their Days Inn motel room in Hoover, and authorities said the fire spread quickly throughout the two-story, wood-frame structure. Fire fighters were unable to reach the women because flames blocked the door and window.

Recent reports indicate investigators do not believe the blaze was intentionally set; however, no official determination as to its cause has been released.

“They’re not telling us anything,” Peacock said. “There’s no definite understanding of anything right now.”

Peacock said she last spoke with her granddaughter about a week ago. “She called all the time,” she said. “She was such a lovely girl.”