Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fund set up to help family of 2 children killed in Zephyrhills fire

ZEPHYRHILLS — A fund has been set up to help a family that lost two children in a fire.

Hunter Freeman, 10, and his sister Mackenze, 9, were killed when their mobile home caught fire Tuesday evening. Authorities continued to investigate the cause of the fire Thursday, said Kevin Doll, spokesman for the Pasco Sheriff's Office.

Both Hunter and Mackenze were severely disabled. Neither child could crawl or communicate.

"They are both precious angels," said Jan Valmassoi, who taught Hunter and Mackenze in a special education class at Centennial Elementary School. Valmassoi drove past the house on Loury Drive on Wednesday, hoping to find family members.

"Their mom is an amazingly strong woman," Valmassoi said.

"Our hearts go out to her."

The children's mother, Anise Bourque, 36, told family she stepped out of the house for a minute to tell her boyfriend, James Moore, 34, it was time for dinner about 6:30 p.m. Within a few moments, Bourque's son Walker — who is Hunter's twin and physically healthy — ran up to her to tell her smoke was coming out of their trailer at River Haven Mobile Home Park. Bourque was burned on her face, hands and feet trying to save her children. Neighbors scrambled to get Hunter and Mackenze out of the house, using an ax, a spade, a chain saw. They dragged water hoses from their homes. The fire was too intense.

"I honestly wish I could have took their place," said Bourque's sister, Amanda Bourque. "I would have took their place in a minute."

Anise Bourque and Moore have been together for nine years and have an 8-year-old son together, Austin. Bourque suffered third-degree burns on her hands.

"She was a good mom," said Amanda Bourque. "She did everything for those kids."

Anise Bourque was a full-time caretaker of her children. Moore worked construction but, with jobs scarce, had been working maintenance at the trailer park.

"This was a good, working family," said Sandy Beare, a family friend.

Bourque and Moore wanted to move to a bigger, wheelchair accessible house, but didn't have the money.

"They don't have anything," Beare said. She said the family lost everything in the fire, apart from each other, their pickup truck and Hunter and Mackenze's wheelchairs, which were outside.

She has no idea how they are going to pay for a funeral.

"They can't bury them," Beare said.

Donations can be made at any SunTrust bank in the name of the Benefit Trust for the Family of Mackenze and Hunter Freeman.

"This has just ripped her up," Beare said. "She's not doing well at all."

Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

Fund set up to help family of 2 children killed in Zephyrhills fire 03/17/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 17, 2011 8:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win


    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  5. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle