Usually in a pair of Chuck Taylors and a tie dye shirt, Skylar Farej, 14, never went anywhere without her headphones.
She loved music especially country songs by artists such as Thomas Rhett and Luke Bryan. She also had a soft spot for rap. She could name nearly every song on the radio.
“She knew the words to every song. If she did not know it, she would go look it up,” her mother Meghan Farej said.
Skylar was an artist her mother said. She loved to doodle and color. She loved to go bow hunting with her father Wally.
“She was full of life and energy. She just made everybody around her so happy. There was never a dull moment when she was around,” Farej said.
The Gulf Breeze Middle School graduate played sports, listened to music, loved her friends and strolled the beach.
Now she is gone.
In the early morning hours of Sunday Skylar’s family home along Laguna Court in Midway caught fire.
Meghan said she was woken up by her 12-year-old son Kyle telling her the house was on fire. The members of the family escaped the house, but Skylar was trapped inside an upper story bathroom.
The emergency call for a residential structure fire came in at 12:40 a.m. according to Santa Rosa County Public Information Officer Brandi Whitehurst.
Midway Fire Department, Gulf Breeze Fire Department, Holley Navarre Fire District and firefighters from Escambia County were dispatched to the residence Whitehurst said. Santa Rosa Sheriff’s office deputies and Lifeguard Ambulance also responded to the scene.
While first responders were on the way, a stranger, later identified as Vince Hernandez and another unidentified man attempted to reach Skylar, but they could not get to her. Skylar’s friend who had been staying at the house that night jumped from an upstairs balcony to escape the fire.
When firefighters arrived, the house was fully in flames.
Command on scene called for a second alarm at 1:10 a.m., and units from Avalon Fire Department, Bagdad Fire Department and an additional unit from Gulf Breeze Fire Department were dispatched to assist.
At 2:29 a.m. the fire was called under control and eventually extinguished. Skylar was transported to the hospital, but she succumbed to her injuries.
The cause of the fire is unknown, and the State Fire Marshals are investigating the incident.
Farej said they are still reeling from losing Skylar.
“We are all just hurting so bad,” she said.
The family is currently staying in a home lent to them by a friend. Farej said members of the community have come forward with donations of food, clothes and other items.
In honor of Skylar and to support her family two GoFundMe pages have been set up by locals Gabriel Kale and Teage Harris-Inman. They have raised $34,585 in two days. The pages are titled “Skye and her family” and “Taylor Farej.”
“There has been so much support from people. Just random people dropping off clothes and food,” Farej said.
She said the two boys that set up GoFundMe accounts for the family were wonderful.
“It is amazing that these children have this kindness and love in their hearts to just jump into action,” she said. “She was so crazy loving and so crazy special.”
A public memorial service will be held for Skylar Saturday at 9 a.m. at Hemingway’s Island Grill on Pensacola Beach. Attendees are asked not to wear black but instead bright colors or tie dye and Chuck Taylors.
As seen in the June 7 issue of Navarre Press.
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