ORINDA (KPIX) — The day after a deadly house fire killed a 16-year-old girl at her home in Orinda, friends and family on Monday were remembering her as a vivacious young woman who could light up a room.
The fire happened early Sunday morning at a home on the 500 block of Moraga Way in Orinda. Now, instead of celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, the young fire victim’s family is in mourning.
16-year-old Luca Gero was a junior at Miramonte High School. Friends said she was a glowing part of the student body with a warm and welcoming personality.
“Her smile; you couldn’t miss her smile. You could see if from down the hallway,” said one Miramonte student who went to school with Luca.
The teen girl died in a fire at 6 a.m. Sunday morning in the Orinda home where she lived that is now the site of a growing memorial. She was home with a friend and an adult man who was watching them, classmates say. Her mom and brother had traveled to Los Angeles to escape the smoke from the Camp Fire.
Luca’s friend and the man got out but, despite firefighters’ best efforts, Luca didn’t.
“Our community is devastated. This is a truly heartbreaking experience and we are really grieving together,” said Miramonte principal Julie Parks.
Classes are out for the Thanksgiving holiday this week, but the Miramonte wellness center opened Monday so students could come together and grieve, make cards for Luca and talk about her tragic passing.
Her fellow students said she was a huge part of the school and will be sorely missed.
“She was beautiful inside and out, with an amazing personality that will live on forever,” said one classmate.
“She’s a very, very special young woman. She lived big. She was warm, she was engaging, she was dynamic. She truly touched many lives,” said Parks
The school is planning a memorial that will likely be held Sunday night on the Miramonte campus.