A pregnant Pennsylvania teenager and her unborn baby were two of of the 31 people killed by Winter Storm Jonas. Family members say that Briahna Gerloff, 18, was shoveling snow when passed away on January 23 in the town of Pottstown. During the “historic” blizzard, around 2 feet of snow was dumped on the eastern United States.
A friend of Briahna Gerloff’s told the Pottstown Mercury News that the 18-year-old’s baby was due to be born via C-section on February 4.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Gerloff Was Suffering From Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome at the Time of Her Death
In an interview with NBC Philadelphia, one of Gerloff’s relatives said Briahna was shoveling snow outside her home at around 9 a.m. on January 23. This is the time when the storm was at its most powerful. The family member said, “I told her it probably wasn’t a good idea for her to be outside shoveling snow. She wanted to do it anyway.”
At the time of her death, Briahna was suffering from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. That condition, known was WPW, causes sufferers to have rapid heartbeats, according to the Mayo Clinic.
After shoveling, Briahna went back to her home. The relative said he followed her later but couldn’t get in because the door was locked. After going through the basement, the family member found Briahna unresponsive on the kitchen floor. Speaking to NBC Philadelphia, the relative, said:
I started doing CPR. That’s when my neighbor came over and helped with CPR and tried to revive her and then the ambulance came…
She was a very good person, a caring and loving person and she could not wait to be a mother.
Briahna was pronounced dead at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center as was her unborn daughter, Kayliana.
2. Her Mother Passed Away in 2013
Briahna’s mother, Michele, passed away in March 2013. According to her obituary, Michele was survived by her daughter, Briahna, son, Stosh, and her husband, Stan. In the About section of her Facebook page, Briahna writes, “I have a beautiful angel in heaven. I call her mommy.” On Michele Gerloff’s Facebook page, she was employed as a nurse’s aide.
3. A Go Fund Me Page Has Been Set Up to Help Gerloff’s Family Pay for Her Funeral
A Go Fund Me page for Briahna has raised nearly $3,000 of a $5,000 goal at the time of writing. The page reads:
Today, January 23, 2016 God took not one, but two beautiful angels. Gone too soon. Briahna was 18 years old and 8 months pregnant with her daughter Kayliana. She passed away this morning as well as her daughter.
Her family now has to deal with all the emotional stress of losing Briahna & Kayliana, but in two short months it will be three years since Briahna’s mother passed away.
They also have to deal with financial stress including funeral costs. I know we will not raise the full goal, but every little bit helps! Please keep the Gerloff family in your thoughts and prayers!
The initial goal of the campaign was just $1,000, a number that was easily surpassed.
4. She Was a Junior Firefighter
The Pottstown Mercury News reports that local police are still investigating Briahna’s death. There is so far no official cause of death. In an interview with the newspaper, Briahna’s friend Ava Cruz, who set up the Go Fund Me page said that her friend had been attending Pottstown High School. According to Briahna’s Facebook page, she was working at a Friendly’s restaurant. She was also a junior firefighter with the Phillies Fire Company. On their Facebook page they paid tribute to her saying, “Please keep Briahna, her unborn daughter Kayliana, family and friends in your thoughts as we mourn her loss. She was a Junior Firefighter with our company…RIP Sweet Girls.”
5. Meanwhile in New Jersey, a Woman & Her Young Son Died of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Their Car
Also among the 31 people killed in the storm were Sashalynn Rosa and her 1-year-old in New Jersey. NorthJersey.com reports that Rosa, her son, Messiah, and her daughter, Saniyah all suffered from carbon monxide poisoning. The family were looking for a parking space when snow encrusted the car’s tailpipe. Saniyah Rosa is in critical condition in a New Jersey hospital.