Bethlehem middle school teacher and her 4 grandchildren died in house fire in the Poconos –

Markie Ribera, left front, lost her mother, Rosemarie LaBarre, and her children, Kathryn, Kaleb, Kristian,and Kasper, in a fire Feb. 10, 2022.Courtesy Jessica McCormic
A teacher at East Hills Middle School and her four young grandchildren died in a house fire late Thursday night, according to the Monroe County coroner.
Rosemarie LaBarre was watching the four children while her daughter and son-in-law weren’t home, according to Monroe County Coroner Tom Yanac.
LaBarre taught family and consumer sciences at the Bethlehem school since 2008, according to Bethlehem Area School District Superintendent Joseph Roy.
“It is just a brutal tragedy,” Roy said. “It was a shock.”
Markie Ribera lost her mother, LaBarre, and her four children in the fire, according to Jessica McCormic. McCormic is one of Ribera’s best friends. She set up a GoFundMe page for the family to help cover their funeral expenses.
“It’s just devastating,” McCormic said.
McCormic said Markie Ribera’s husband, Carlos, works on a farm. Markie Ribera was at the farm taking care of him the night their Monroe County home caught fire, McCormic said.
The fire was reported just after 11:15 p.m. Thursday in the 5100 block of Brook Road in Polk Township, Yanac said. Yanac said LaBarre, 53, and her grandchildren, ages 2 to 7, died in the fire.
McCormic’s husband, Shane McCormic, is creative arts director at House of the Rock Church in Bushkill Township. Ribera serves as children’s ministry director at the church.
The Riberas are surrounded by friends who are trying to help them through the tragedy. For now, the Riberas are staying with the McCormics.
“They don’t need to be alone right now,” Jessica McCormic said, adding. “We’re taking it a day at a time.”
She said the children, Kathryn, Kaleb, Kristian, and Kasper, were Markie Ribera’s world.
Kathryn, Kaleb, Kristian, and Kasper Ribera died in a fire Feb. 10, 2022, in Polk Township, Monroe CountyCourtesy Jessica McCormic
“Those four little kids were everything to her,” Jessica McCormic said.
Asked to describe the children, McCormic used the words, “Smart. Kind. Loving. Full of joy. It’s hard to find words today. They loved the Lord.”
She said the church plans a special collection Sunday for the Ribera family. She said grief counselors will come in to speak with young members of the congregation, including the teenagers who babysat the Ribera children.
Jessica McCormic said Markie Ribera’s father, Clark LaBarre, died in November.
The fire appears to have started accidentally and there was nothing suspicious at the scene, according to Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Anthony Petroski. The state police fire marshal continues to investigate the fire.
LaBarre has been on leave for most of this school year, Roy said. The district brought in counselors to break the news to staff in small groups and Principal David Horvath notified parents so they could break the news to their children over the weekend, Roy said. There will be extra counselors at East Hills on Monday.
Markie Ribera was homeschooling her two elementary-school-aged children, Jessica McCormic confirmed.
Pleasant Valley School District Superintendent James R. Konrad issued a memo to staff after the tragedy:
“It is with great sadness that I confirm the news of the tragic loss of two of our homeschooled elementary students with you. When our school community experiences a tragedy, such as the loss of young lives, it impacts all of us. My thoughts and prayers are with the students, their families and friends at this incredibly difficult time.
“This loss is incomprehensible, and these deaths leave us without words to express our grief or even attempt to understand this incredible loss. As a school community, we extend our deepest condolences to these students’ loved ones.
“Our school counselors are aware of this tragedy and we have arranged for extra counselors to be available at Pleasant Valley Elementary on Monday for any students and staff members who are in need of grief support.
“On behalf of the entire school community, we extend our deepest sympathy to the lives that were lost, their family and friends during this difficult time.”
Four children and an adult are dead after a fire that was reported just after 11:15 p.m. Feb. 10, 2022, on Brook Road in Pokp Township.Photo courtesy WFMZ, Channel 69 News
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to
Rudy Miller may be reached at
Sara K. Satullo may be reached at
Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.
Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (User Agreement updated 1/1/21. Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement updated 5/1/2021).
Cookie Settings
© 2022 Advance Local Media LLC. All rights reserved (About Us).
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local.
Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site.
Ad Choices LogoAd Choices


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.