Beloved Philly teacher dies following Roxborough house fire

ROXBOROUGH (WPVI) -- Grief counselors were on hand Monday at a Philadelphia elementary school, after a beloved third grade teacher perished over the weekend in a house fire in the city's Roxborough section.

Investigators said Shelia Hawkins died of her injuries at 8:45 a.m. Sunday at Temple University Hospital.

Hawkins was a third-grade teacher at Shawmont Elementary School.

Officials said Hawkins had taught at the school since 2004, but had worked for the School District of Philadelphia since 1992.

In a statement on its Twitter account Monday, the district said,

"Our hearts go out to the family of Ms. Sheila Taylor-Hawkins who passed away this weekend. The Shawmont school community & the School District are coming together at this difficult time. Her years of service to @PHLschools are priceless & we are thankful for her commitment."

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Teacher killed in Roxborough fire: Annie McCormick reports on Action News at 11 p.m., Novermber 19, 2017

The fire started shortly before 8 a.m. Sunday on the 600 block of Renz Street.

Police said four people were in the home at the time of the blaze: Hawkins, her daughter, her son-in-law and their son.

Neighbors heard yelling from down the street and jumped into action to help.

"I put my pants on, got dressed and ran out. You could see them hanging out the window, yelling," said neighbor Greg Sadowski.

They threw up a ladder and rescued Steeples and his son. Hawkins' daughter was also able to escape the smoky fire.

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Beloved third-grade teacher perishes in Roxborough house fire: Annie McCormick reports on Action News at 6 p.m., November 19, 2017

But crews found Hawkins inside. She had suffered 3rd degree burns.

Medics rushed her to Temple University Hospital in cardiac arrest. She was pronounced dead a short time later.

Investigators are still working to uncover the cause of the deadly blaze.

Word of the tragic fire spread quickly Sunday. Neighbors began gathering new clothing and gift cards to help the family.

Monday morning at Shawmont Elementary, a letter was handed out to arriving parents.

"The principal just said he was going to acknowledge it, have a quick briefing on what happened," parent Jeremy Morgan told Action News.

The school district said the tragedy touched the entire school community and brought in grief counselors to help.

"We have those supports in place to make sure whether it be students or staff that they have someone to talk to in this difficult time," said Philadelphia School District spokesperson Lee Whack.

Antuane Steeples, Hawkins son-in-law, said their family and the community lost an amazing woman.

"Everybody loved her," he said. "She was a great person."

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Crews battle house fire in Roxborough. Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at 12:30 p.m. on November 19, 2017.

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