MIDTOWN MOBILE, Ala (WALA) -- Heartbreak in Midtown Mobile after a beloved teacher was killed in an overnight house fire.
She is being identified as 67-year-old Lillis Lewis, a teacher at St. Mary Catholic School.
“She was just an amazing person,” said St. Mary Catholic School Principal Debbie Ollis.
On the school campus there is a hole that will not easily be filled.
“I looked forward to speaking with her every morning,” Ollis said. “She was a light.”
Lewis was a Pre-K teacher at the school for the last 6.5 years. She died when her house on Silverwood Street caught fire around 11:15 Monday night. 15 firefighting crews responded to the two-alarm blaze. Firefighters found Lewis in a bedroom. She was pulled out and rushed to the hospital where she passed away.
On Tuesday, Lewis’ colleagues were in shock like Ollis.
“Today has been surreal I keep waiting to wake up and hear that this was not true,” she said.
About half of the teachers at St. Mary surrounded Principal Ollis during our interview, just minutes after wrapping up an afternoon mass for Lewis.
“It reinforced for me what a wonderful human being she is and what a gift she was to all of us,” Ollis said.
“Anytime there was any little problem on the playground or disagreement she was always very kind, very patient and just the way she talked to those kids just amazing,” said Patty Erickson, a fellow teacher.
This is big loss after a tough year. Lewis was beloved by many.
“I just want teachers to teach like she did and love our students,” Ollis said. “When you love them you can’t go wrong.”
A firefighter was taken to the hospital after being injured trying to put the fire out overnight.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The Lewis family says they will be releasing a statement in the coming days.
The school is planning a vigil Wednesday night at 5:30pm.