BRENT, Ala. (WIAT) — The Brent community in Bibb County is mourning the tragic death of 9-year-old Rodney Caddell Junior who died in a house fire Saturday night.

Grief counselors are helping students and teachers who are grieving the loss of the third-grade student at Brent Elementary school.

Schools Superintendent Duane McGee says teachers and staff were too shaken up to talk on camera bout the tragedy, but McGee says the 9-year-old was a special student who just celebrated his birthday last week with his twin brother.

“This young man was well-liked and loved and was a joy to be around and I can tell you there is a very hurt third-grade teacher and 23 classmates that are really missing their classmate this morning and will miss him he was a super kid yes,” Duane McGee said.

Firefighters responded to the mobile home just after 10:45 p.m. Saturday night located on B I Way near Huff Street in Brent.  The house was a total loss, the flames destroyed furniture, clothing and many other items inside.  

“There are additional councilors at the school this morning to help speak with students and classmates who are struggling, and you have to understand, and some are just hearing about this as they get back to school today.  It has been a tough morning at the school,” McGee said.

Bibb County Coroner C.W. West says the fire was caused by a kerosene heater that was being used at the home. West believes the victims died as a result of smoke inhalation, but an official autopsy will be conducted.  Superintendent Duane McGee says he is keeping the victim’s family in prayer because he says the loss will be a difficult one to process.

“Our hearts go out to the parents and there are other siblings who are struggling,” McGee said. “This young student was special, and we will miss him and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

The State Fire Marshall’s office is investigating, family members posted on social media that Funeral Arrangements for Rodney Caddell Jr. Will be Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, at 12 p.m. at the Cooper Cemetery and visitation will be at New Pleasant Valley Church from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Family members have set up a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral expenses.