Missy was 'always smiling'
SHAMOKIN - Melissa "Missy" Pangburn was "always smiling."
That's how a friend described the 13-year-old Shamokin Area seventh-grader who died Tuesday in a fire at her home at 5 S. Rock St.
Brianna Lehman, 13, of Shamokin, who provided comments on Facebook through her mother, Christina Vitale, said she met Missy in sixth grade when they shared the same bus and homeroom. She remembers "sitting at the lunch table taking funny pics all the time" with Missy. Brianna said Missy was special because of her positive attitude and friendly and happy personality.
Asked what she would say to Missy now, Brianna said, "You were the best friend I ever had. You may be gone but you will always be in my heart. I love you, Missy Pangburn. Rest in peace. Love always."
Post at 10:47 a.m.
Missy, who described herself on her Facebook profile page as a lover of shopping, make-up and rock bands, posted two photographs of herself at 10:47 a.m. with the caption "bored." It would be the last thing she ever posted - 11 minutes later is when authorities say the fire that took her life was reported.
According to Missy's Facebook page, her favorite color was teal and her passion was shoes. Her cover photo at the top of her account humorously read, "Being a person is getting too complicated. Time to be a unicorn."
Brianna last spoke to her friend Monday at school during lunch where they talked about "normal stuff."
Vitale said her daughter took the news hard.
"Sometimes life seems so unfair. We know this as adults, but try explaining that to an innocent child," she said.
Vitale had yet to meet Missy, but she heard about her all the time from Brianna.
"She was actually supposed to come over one day, but unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet her beautiful soul," she said.
Honor roll student
Chris Venna, principal of Shamokin Area Middle/High School, said he'd spoken with teachers and students about Pangburn who called her pleasant and hard-working. She was an honor roll student in both elementary school and middle school.
"Obviously we're saddened by her loss and our prayers go out to her family, friends and loved ones," he said.
The school day was canceled Tuesday due to the threat of snow. Class will be back in session today. District guidance counselors and crisis counselors from Northumberland County will be available to speak with any students, faculty or staff affected by the tragedy, Venna said.
By early afternoon, a memorial page called RIP Missy Pangburn was created. By 8 p.m., 165 people joined that group and started posting words of condolence and photographs of the girl.
Gianna Rose D'Agostino posted, "Fly high beautiful! You will be missed, gone but never forgotten!"
Hannah Ernest said Missy was the "coolest girl ever" and "heaven gained one awesome girl."
Help with food, drinks
The community rallied Tuesday to provide a bit of comfort to firefighters and other emergency responders.
Management at Original Italian Pizza on Independence Street and Puff Express on North Pearl Street provided pizza, coffee and hot chocolate.
Dozens of emergency responders from Shamokin and nine communities were called to the scene.
"We appreciate what they do; they're putting their lives on the line," said OIP manager Chrissy Geiswite. "They're only volunteers."
She had her employees take 10 boxes of pizza for lunch, and was prepared to take more as needed for the rest of the day.
"We figured there were a lot of people down there. I'm sure they're hungry," she said.
Michelle Banegas, an employee at Puff, and Tia Bress, daughter of Puff employee Maggie Vercruyssen, brought several boxes of hot chocolate and coffee.
"I'm a mother," Banegas said. "If people were trying to save my kid, this is the least someone could do for them."
Bress said she was happy to help.
"I thought they were really cold and I felt really bad," she said.
Police Chief Ed Griffiths said McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts and Dominoes also provided food.
(Staff Writer Eric Scicchitano contributed to this report.)