Paige Ruddy was a 19-year-old bride-to-be who was scheduled to get married to her fiancé, Logan Mitchell-Carter, on Tuesday (May 23). What was supposed to be a special day ended up being a tragic one when a house fire broke out in the home she was living in with her fiance and his grandparents.
She was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for smoke inhalation before dying of a brain hemorrhage the following day – on Wednesday (May 24). Her death came just two days after she exchanged her vows with her fiancé ahead of their wedding at the Sauk County Courthouse.
According to WMTV, a private funeral service with close friends and family members will be held for Paige Ruddy sometime next week, but they’ll be planning a ‘public celebration of life’ for the 19-year-old at a future date. The family is asking others to ‘honor her memory by hugging their loved ones tight.’
In the hours and days following the news of her death, many of Paige Ruddy’s closest friends and family members took to social media and local news outlets to pay tribute to the 2022 high school graduate who died too soon. She’s being remembered as a ‘precious human’ who was ‘there for anyone who needed it.’
“She was just a precious human. There was nothing about her that you couldn’t like. She was this presence you never knew you needed in your life, but always did,” Paige’s aunt, Holly, told WMTV on Thursday. “Her smile was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. She was always there to help anyone.”
Paige’s friend, Lily Markgraf, praised her for having a ‘big caring heart’ – they graduated from Reedsburg Area High School together. “She was there for anyone who needed it, even if she didn’t like the person. If they needed her help, she’d be there to help them. I’m going to miss her for the rest of my life.”
According to friends and family members, Paige Ruddy was looking forward to attending Madison Area Technical College in the fall – following this summer. She had already enrolled in a vet tech program and was excited to begin a new chapter in her life. Unfortunately, that chapter came to an end on May 23.
No Working Smoke Detectors Found in House Fire
While speaking to local reporters following the tragedy, family members said they believed there were no working smoke detectors in the home at the time of the house fire. While it hasn’t been confirmed by authorities, the lack of working smoke detectors could certainly play a major role in her tragic death.
In an effort to prevent another family from having to suffer a similar loss, the family is urging people around the world to ensure their home is equipped with working smoke detectors. It’s also important that you’re checking and testing your smoke detectors often to ensure they’re working properly at all times.
According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), there are roughly 350,000 residential fires in the US every year – amounting to nearly 3,000 deaths and more than 11,000 injuries. The most common causes of a house fire include cooking, heating equipment, electrical fire, candles, smoking, and more.
Smoke detectors play an essential role in alerting anyone inside the home that a fire has started – giving them time to execute their exit strategy to prevent injury and/or death. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 57% of house fires occur in a home without a smoke detector or one that doesn’t work.
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