Updated: December 02, 2020 06:54 PM
Created: December 02, 2020 06:05 PM
Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fish loved her time at LuceLine Orchard in Watertown, where she worked each fall during apple harvest with her mom and brother.
"She was forgiving and compassionate and gave everybody the benefit of the doubt, and she was loyal and appreciative," her mother, Rachel Thissen, said.
"She loved everybody, and she was so willing to help everybody," her older brother, Kaleb Fish, added.
She loved her faith, as well, and displayed a bible verse on her bedroom chalkboard.
"It read, 'But our citizenship is in Heaven,' and I asked her probably three or four weeks ago, when are you going to change that verse, and she said that it just feels right for now," her mom said.
After a small family gathering on Thanksgiving with her mom, brother and grandma, the family headed for bed.
"I just remember her saying all through Thanksgiving, this is so perfect, this is so wonderful, this couldn't be any better," Thissen shared.
Jenna went to bed that night in her mom's room upstairs, giving her room to her grandmother.
"I fell asleep and the last thing I literally had my eyes on was her face, and was holding her little hand," her mom said.
But a snoring dog kept Jenna awake, so she went to the basement.
"At about 11:59 p.m. she texted her boyfriend, Will, and said she couldn't stay upstairs because the dog was snoring and keeping her awake so she was going to go into the basement," Rachel said.
By 7 a.m. the next morning, everyone upstairs was sick from carbon monoxide. Jenna was still in the basement.
"When I found her, she was on the sofa and I flipped her over and felt for a pulse because I could see her eyes were open and her little pupils were tiny, and I knew that she had passed," Thissen said.
A volunteer firefighter himself, Kaleb tried to revive his sister to no avail.
He says their loss is heartbreaking.
"Even though you think you might be safe, you are never really safe, and this accident proves that," he said.
The family says there were four functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the house. Jenna and Kaleb had just gone through the house in July and changed all the batteries. However, none of them went off.
Rachel said there are three separate agencies investigating what happened.
"As the fire in the fireplace, we have a wood-burning fireplace, died, the radiator heat kicked on, causing negative airflow into the basement," Thissen said about what investigators believe may have happened.
This family, mourning a tragic and sudden loss of a young girl with a big heart, hopes everyone who hears Jenna's story will check their heating systems and put in carbon monoxide detectors.
"If a family will be saved, or a little girl, or a little boy, or a grandma or grandpa is saved because somebody hears this message, that will bring honor to Jenna and it will leave a legacy of her continuing to care for people that she knew and those she didn't know," her mom said.
A memorial for Jenna will be held at LuceLine Orchard in March, when she would have turned 18. A willow tree will be planted in her honor, and a bench placed on the property where she so loved to be.
"It definitely was Jenna's, by far, her favorite place," Kaleb recalled.
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