The city of Reedsburg, Wisconsin is mourning the death of a bride-to-be.
Paige Ruddy, 19, and her fiancé Logan Mitchell-Carter exchanged their vows in private on Monday and had a small family ceremony, according to WMTV News. Their legal wedding at the Sauk County courthouse on Tuesday, however, tragically never took place.
Ruddy was reportedly trapped on the second floor of a burned down house on Tuesday and died the next day of a brain hemorrhage resulting from smoke inhalation. Local fire department chief Craig Douglas told the outlet that Ruddy was unable to navigate through the smoke to safety.
“She was just a precious human,” Ruddy’s aunt told the outlet on Thursday. “There was nothing about her that you couldn’t like. She was this presence that you never knew you needed in your life, but you always did.”
Douglas told the outlet that three other people were home at the time of the fire and managed to escape before firefighters arrived on the scene around 4 a.m.
The house, which Ruddy and Mitchell-Carter were staying in and belonged to the groom’s grandparents, reportedly lacked working smoke detectors. Since then, Ruddy’s family has urged others to make sure their own homes are equipped with working equipment.
Rudy graduated from Reedsburg Area High School in June 2022. He planned to enroll in a vet tech program at Madison Area Technical College this fall and hoped to earn a related associate’s degree for his future career.
“Paige has enough good qualities to fill a room,” reads a GoFundMe page set up to help with medical costs and funeral expenses. “Since she was a little girl, Paige was full of life, ready to help anyone with anything, and an absolute joy…she was kind, funny, and according to her family, she had a lot of energy” . Launched Thursday, the GoFundMe has already surpassed its $10,000 goal after nearly 200 separate donations.
Lily Markgraf, who graduated from high school with her, said Ruddy was the first friend she made after moving to Reedsburg in seventh grade.
“He had a big, loving heart,” Markgraf told WMTV News. “She was there for anyone who needed her, even if she didn’t like the person. If they needed her help, she would be there for them. I will miss her for the rest of my life.”
Ruddy’s family plans to hold a private funeral next week.
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