Cami Jo Combs and her daughter were joined at the hip.
The 20-year-old mother and her 2-year-old child, Callie Jo Flowers, died Saturday morning in a row home fire in Columbia Borough. Comb’s cousin, Ryan Welsh, says the two were inseparable.
“Whatever Cami did in the last two years was what Callie did,” Welsh said.
Combs’ mother, Michelle Hoffman, sister, Tori Lefever, and two nieces, 4-year-old twins Talia and Talisha, also lived in the South Second Street home. At the time of the fire, Welsh said, they were out of the house at a nearby school.
All are now living with Combs’ brother, Trent Lefever, Welsh said.
“(The family) took a complete loss,” Welsh said. “They lost two dogs, they lost their niece, their sister, their daughter.”
Friends and family members gathered Saturday night for a vigil in front of the Columbia home to remember Combs and her daughter. Candles, flowers, balloons and stuffed animals were left on the house’s doorstep.
Community and family members have dropped off clothing and other necessities for those who were displaced, Welsh said.
Welsh paints a picture of a close extended family, with many family members living in the borough, not far from the South Second Street home. He said he often looked after Combs when she was a child and, despite a nine-year age gap, they had a strong relationship.
Welsh said Combs and her daughter "an unbreakable bond."
“She definitely loved Callie to the fullest,” he said.
The fatal fire started around 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the house Combs and her family rented in the 200 block of South Second Street.
Fire officials said the mother and daughter were found in a second-floor bedroom shortly after firefighters arrived at the scene, and both were overcome with smoke and unable to escape.
Combs was pronounced dead at the scene, and Callie was taken to Lancaster General Hospital where she later died.
State police Fire Marshal Ryan Gehman said the fire began when a trash can sitting on top of the stove ignited. The fire was ruled accidental.
Columbia Borough Fire Chief Douglas Kemmerly said the house’s smoke detectors were not working at the time of the fire.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with funeral costs. The fundraiser was organized by Welsh and has a set goal of $10,000. As of Sunday evening, $4,580 had been donated.