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Bride-to-be dies in house fire just hours before her wedding day

Emily Brown

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| Last updated 

Bride-to-be dies in house fire just hours before her wedding day

Featured Image Credit: GoFundMe / NBC15 Madison

A bride-to-be lost her life just hours before she was set to walk down the aisle after getting caught in a fire at her home in Wisconsin.

Paige Ruddy, who was just 19-years-old, was set to tie the knot with her fiancé, Logan Mitchell-Carter, in a small ceremony at the Sauk County Courthouse on Tuesday (23 May).

Paige Ruddy died the day after the fire. Credit: GoFundMe
Paige Ruddy died the day after the fire. Credit: GoFundMe

Her aunt, Holly, told NBC15 Ruddy and Mitchell-Carter had exchanged their vows privately on Monday, but Ruddy tragically never got to celebrate her nuptials with her loved ones.

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The bride had been living with Mitchell-Carter and his grandparents at their home in Reedsburg, and it was there that she got caught on the second floor of the home when a fire broke out early on Tuesday morning.

Reedsburg Fire Department Chief, Craig Douglas, said Ruddy could not safely make it through the smoke, so firefighters smashed through a window to try and reach her.

Ruddy was pulled from the house and taken to a nearby hospital, but the following day the coroner’s office reported that she had died.

Firefighters pulled Paige Ruddy from a window. Credit: NBC15 Madison
Firefighters pulled Paige Ruddy from a window. Credit: NBC15 Madison
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Her family explained that she passed away of a brain haemorrhage as a result of smoke inhalation from the fire. Her aunt said the family does not believe there were working smoke detectors in the house when the fire broke out.

She has now urged other people to check the alarms in their own homes to prevent anything similar from happening to their own families.

Three other people who were in the home at the time of the fire managed to escape before firefighters arrived.

Holly described her niece as a 'precious human', sharing that she was getting ready to enroll in a Vet Tech program at Madison Area Technical College this autumn.

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Paige Ruddy was preparing to go to vet school. Credit: NBC15 Madison
Paige Ruddy was preparing to go to vet school. Credit: NBC15 Madison

"There was nothing about her that you couldn’t like,” Holly said. “She was this presence you never knew you needed in your life, but always did.”

Ruddy graduated from Reedsburg Area High School in June 2022, alongside classmate, Lily Markgraf, who has said Ruddy was the first friend she made when she moved to the school.

”She had a big caring heart,” Markgraf told NBC15. “She was there for anyone who needed it, even if she didn’t like the person. If they needed her help, she’d be there to help them. I’m going to miss her for the rest of my life.”

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Ruddy's family is now preparing to honour her life with a private funeral service before a public celebration of life at a later date. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover the costs of medical bills and a funeral.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, though Douglas indicated there is no suspicion of foul play.

Topics: Wedding, US News, Health

Emily Brown
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