Family grieves woman electrocuted helping neighbors escape house fire

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 11:34 PM CDT
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BYRON, Ill. (WIFR/Gray News) - Family members of an Illinois woman are trying to wrap their minds around her sudden death after they say she came in contact with a live power line while helping her neighbors escape a house fire.

“It hurts. It hurts a lot. And I don’t think you understand the totality of it,” Pete Rosa said.

WIFR reports these are difficult words for Rosa, as he struggles to grasp the death of his family member, 32-year-old Marley McFarland.

“Marley and I had a connection because we both served in the military,” Rosa said, “and in the military, one of the first things you learn is sacrifice.”

Family says that’s exactly what McFarland did Saturday morning, as she ran outside her home in Byron, Illinois, to help her neighbors escape a house fire.

“She did it not knowing it would be one of the last things she ever did,” Rosa said.

Rosa says McFarland came in contact with a live power line, shocking her to death. First responders suspect a recent snowstorm knocked down the wire.

McFarland was the mother of five children, including a baby born just a few months ago. She also leaves behind a boyfriend and former husband, who now must navigate the role of a single father.

“In a situation like this, you focus on one step at a time, so you’re not overwhelmed,” Rosa said. “It’s easy to close your eyes and look five years into the future and be crushed by the weight of the decisions you’ll have to make.”

But Rosa says his family is also overwhelmed by the support and generosity of community members, who, with every minute that passes, step up in remarkable ways to help loved ones as they face their lives without McFarland.

“They’re still a family,” Rosa said, “albeit, without one of the most important pieces, and that’s mom.”

Rosa and his wife created a GoFundMe page to help McFarland’s boyfriend, former husband and her kids.