Emmaus students cope with death of classmate, Montana Twining, in fire

Teen was one of 4 people who died in burning apartment building

Author: , Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published: Mar 19 2013 04:48:29 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 19 2013 06:02:02 PM EDT
David and Melissa and Montana Twining (Emmaus fire victims)
EMMAUS, Pa. -

Investigators are still trying to figure out what sparked a fire that killed four people in Emmaus, Lehigh Co., on Sunday.

"To know that somebody passed away from our school, let alone a 16-year-old in a house, really upsets me," said Emma Hoffman, a classmate of Montana Twining.

The Lehigh County coroner has not released the names of the people who died inside the burning apartment on South 5th Street, but friends and neighbors said Twining, 16, a special needs student at Emmaus High School, was one of the victims.

Two others are believed to be his mother, Melissa Twining, and her boyfriend, David Jenkins, family and friends said.

The school district said grief counseling is available for faculty, staff and for any students who need it.

"Really depends on the scope of the tragedy and the student, how active were they, were they involved outside of the classroom, how many lives did they touch in the school community," said Thomas Mirabella, director of student services for the school district.

The impact may be hard to measure inside Emmaus High School, but those at a nearby coffee shop said the teen and his family were regulars, with Montana being very active in kung fu lessons.

"People that were really nice people. They would give you the shirts off their back for you and they didn't have much like the rest of us," said friend Ryan Foux.

Investigators are still hoping the fire scene gives them clues as to what sparked the tragedy.