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Mother of toddler twins who died in fire passes away

Allyson Howard, the mother of 3-year-old twins, Alex and Olivia Howard, who died in an explosive house fire on Monday in Totz, died on Wednesday after several days of battling injuries suffered in the fire.

The Kentucky State Police reported Howard died while receiving treatment in Augusta, Ga. Her husband, Dennis Chad Howard, remains in critical condition.

Members of the community gathered for a prayer vigil, led by Pastor Sean Daniels, on Wednesday at the Harlan Center for the Howard family, organized by With Love From Harlan.

Joint funeral services for Allyson, Alex and Olivia Howard will be conducted at 6 p.m. on Sunday (April 28) at Harlan Baptist Church with Rev. Jeff Noah and Rev. Tim Daniels. Music will be provided by Seth Carmical. Anderson-Laws & Jones Funeral Home is serving the Howard family.

The Harlan music community and With Love From Harlan will come together to host a benefit for the Howard family on May 2, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Harlan Elementary School theater. Performers include: The Kudzu Killers, Dakota Saylor and the Bloody Harlan Band, Tyler Smith, Sunrise Ridge, Justin Taylor and Brooklyn Collins. This is a free show, however, With Love From Harlan will be present to accept any donations (which are strongly encouraged).

If you would like to help, several fundraisers have been set up for the family.

With Love From Harlan’s fundraiser will help with funeral expenses. You may donate on the With Love From Harlan Facebook page (all monies collected will be given directly to the funeral home) or you may donate directly to the funeral home at: Anderson Laws & Jones Funeral Home, 114 South 3rd Street, Harlan KY 40831.

VIP Tees also plan to combine their proceeds with With Love from Harlan by selling T-shirts. VIP Tees has shirts available in sizes from youth small to XXXL for $15.90 after tax.

The School House Inn will donate all proceeds from this week’s all-you-can-eat Sunday Supper to aid the Howard family as they mourn the loss of their two children from a house fire and recover from their own life-threatening injuries. The supper is from noon to 3 p.m. on April 28 (carry-out is available). For more information, call 606-848-3000.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up for the burn victims to help with medical bills, the complete loss of their home and recovery. To donate, visit https://bit.ly/2UNWe1U.

Donations are also being accepted by Harlan County Friends of the Shelter for a kitten a first responder found during the tragedy who was struggling to breath.

The kitten was passed off to Chief Animal Control officer Willie Galloway who then entrusted the kitten to a Harlan County Animal Shelter worker, who started emergency treatment including suction, oxygen and vigorous stimulation. The kitten started to cry, a relief, but the fight was only starting.

The 2-3 week old kitten, dubbed Phoenix, was stabilized overnight and then transferred to vets at Blue Grass Animal Hospital in Lexington. The hospital specializes in smoke inhalation.

Phoenix needs around the clock care, treatment includes smoke inhalation therapy, IV fluids and antibiotics and the use of a hyperbolic chamber.

This is costly, so donations are sought to help secure the monies to save this small life. Any monetary donations will go to the continued care of Phoenix, emergency care, stabilization and any future costs of his ongoing care.

The mission is to save him and to return him to his family if possible. Out of this tragedy, the organization hopes to provide this small ray of hope for the family.

Donations are tax deductible and can be made via the website at www.hcfos.org on PayPal or mail a check to: Harlan County Friends of the Shelter, 21 Willow Drive, Harlan, KY 40831.