HAGERSTOWN — Fire claimed the life of 3-year-old Hope Goins of Hagerstown, but in her death she helped two others live, according to her uncle.
“It’s really been the one bright spot out of this entire tragedy — that this little girl, her name is Hope, and she lived up to her name,” said the Rev. Tim Fisher, the half brother of Hope’s father, Kenneth Goins, 50, who was injured in the Summit Avenue apartment fire that also claimed the life of his 43-year-old wife, Patricia, on April 18.
“Our experience is a shared one, at least from my perspective,” Fisher said. “This tragedy’s been pretty tough to comprehend; pretty tough to endure for our family.”
Patricia’s father, Quinten Coldsmith, 64, was critically injured in the fire. He remained in critical condition at R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore Tuesday night, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Fisher, pastor of Covenant of Life Church in Hagerstown, talked to the media Monday evening at the church on Dual Highway about the events following the fire.
A firefighter carried Hope’s still body out of the house at 334 Summit Ave, and she was rushed to Meritus Medical Center. She was then flown to the shock trauma center in Baltimore, where she succumbed to injuries from smoke inhalation over the weekend, Fisher said.
When she was carried out of the burning building, Hope had gone about 17 minutes without oxygen, and it took the medical staff nearly 50 minutes to get her heart beating again, Fisher said. Doctors told him her chances of survival were “pretty slim.”
On Friday, Hope was removed from a hyperbaric chamber and taken to another area of shock trauma so doctors could perform a test to determine if her brain was still receiving blood.
The news was grim, Fisher said.
“Unfortunately, there was no blood flow to the brain,” Fisher said.
With Hope on life-support equipment, Fisher said he and Goins were approached by doctors a short time later, asking about the possibility of the child being an organ donor.
“Right from the get-go, he was all for it,” Fisher said of Goins, who he said is expected to make a full recovery from injuries sustained in the fire.
Hope was taken off life support Sunday morning. Her organs were donated to two young boys who needed them to survive, Fisher said.
“She literally was the hope of Kenny and Patricia’s life,” he said. “And even in her death, she became hope for a 2-year-old little boy, who only had days to live and needed a liver. She became hope to a young man, who needed two kidneys.
“In her death, she literally saved two people’s lives,” he said.
Fisher, who said he’s “absolutely determined to let people know that she was here, and that she was more than just the little girl who died in the fire,” has set up a fund at Susquehanna Bank in Hope’s name to help offset medical and funeral expenses for the family.
Checks may be made payable to the Hope Goins Fund, he said.
Any leftover funds for the foundation will go to providing free smoke detectors and fire extinguishers to underprivileged families, and aid for people who have been displaced by fire, Fisher said.
There was no fire extinguisher in the Goins’ home, he said.
“I want to keep her name alive. I want to keep her beauty alive,” he said. “And I think one of the ways we can do that is by helping somebody else. I feel like she deserves that. I feel like she lived up to her name, and we should try to live up to her name, too.”
Hope’s godparents, Dan and Susan Fraley of Hagerstown, who were with Fisher at the church, said they were close to the Goins family. The couple regularly attended church with the Goins at Boonsboro Church of God on Lakin Avenue in Boonsboro.
Dan Fraley called the tragedy a wakeup call for families because of “how quick things can change.”
“They totally loved one another, and they totally loved Hope with all their heart, especially (Patricia),” he said.
The family will receive friends at Douglas Fiery Funeral Home Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. A funeral service at the home will be held Friday at 10 a.m., before Hope and her mother are laid to rest together at Cedar Lawn Memorial Park.