WEST ALEXANDRIA, Ohio (WDTN) — A makeshift memorial is growing at the scene of a West Alexandria house fire that cut two young lives short.

“Hits really hard,” admitted Janet Barnhart, a parent of two Twin Valley School students.

Firefighters rushed to the 3400 block of U.S. Route 35 Saturday morning when flames erupted, but fire had overtaken the home, and Malea and Malachi Bradburn were killed. The two attended Twin Valley Elementary School. Malea was in fourth grade and Malachi was in third.

Superintendent Clinton Moore was shaken by the news.

“It’s a real killer. You know I dealt with it another time when I was a middle school principal, and it’s just gut wrenching,” said Moore.

The school brought in grief counselors not only for the students but also for the staff.

“It’s just something that basically you hope that you never have to do. But in reality in the world that we live in, death happens, and grief is a part of that,” said Moore.

Barnhart said her children are in second and sixth grades at Twin Valley. She said she’s prepared to talk with them about the loss.

“Just wait until they come to me, and then I’ll sit down and talk to them,” said Barnhart.

For now, the school is working to keep the children’s memories alive as they try to move forward.

“They’re a part of this family we call Twin Valley South,” said Moore.

The Preble County Sheriff’s Office said the mother was not home at the time the fire sparked. Officials said right now no charges have been filed because they’re still investigating. The State Fire Marshal’s Office has not yet ruled the cause of a fire.