Community rallies for St Paul family who lost their daughter, home in fire


More than 300 people gathered in St. Paul Sunday night to grieve with a family who lost its 4-year-old daughter in a fire last week.

Ntshialiag "Chialia" Yang died as the result of a fast-moving blaze that swept through her family's home on the east side of St. Paul.

Her father Peter rescued six other family members, including four other children, his wife and mother, but couldn't find Chialia. St. Paul firefighters later rescued her from under a bed in an upstairs bedroom, but she later died at Regions Hospital.

As of early Monday morning, a fundraising site had raised over $27,000 for the family, which lost most of its belongings in the fire. The site also tells donors how to give non-cash items such as clothes. The family is currently staying with a relative.

WCCO reports that at the Sunday event, Peter Yang continued to share his sorrow over his inability to save his daughter even as friends sought to comfort him.

"We want you to go on, you have many children, you have many children to live for, you have great friends like us, you have the Hmong community as your backbone," event organizer Salina Vang said.

FOX 9 reports guests at the Hmong House fundraiser included key leaders in the Minnesota Hmong community, including the 18 Hmong clan leaders.

Peter Yang is a prominent figure in the community; he has long served as master of ceremonies at St. Paul's Hmong New Year celebration and has been the head referee for the annual Fourth of July soccer tournament.

On Wednesday, the St. Paul City Council passed a resolution to honor Yang's bravery, according to the Pioneer Press. "The man gave it his all," said Council Member Dan Bostrom.

The little girl who died was captured on home video playing with a sister just an hour before the blaze sparked.

Her funeral is scheduled for Thursday at Gong Hong funeral chapel on Arcade Street in St. Paul.

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