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Florence Police identify homeowner and deceased in fatal house fire

FLORENCE, Ala. -- Florence authorities have identified those involved in a fatal house fire that took place early Sunday morning. Officials say the homeowner, Trisha Henry, was able to escape the fire safely with her children.

Crews responded to the home on the 100 block of Whisperwood Trail at around 6:45 a.m. Authorities say John Kalama, Henry's former boss, entered her home, started a fire and attempted to assault her. Police say she retreated to her bedroom where he followed, shots were fired, and Henry was able to leave the home.

After the Florence Fire Department put out the fire they say they found Kalama's body. The cause of death is still unknown at this time and the body is now with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy. Officials say Henry and her children are staying with family.

Authorities said the fire completely destroyed the home. According to a neighbor, the family that lived in the home had recently moved in and had just finished remodeling.

"They're just a really sweet family. It's so sad. It's Christmas time and they have lost everything. They have nothing," said Kathy Blanke.

Seventh-grader John Oliver Warren is friends with one of the children who lived in the home. In just a few hours, Warren raised more than $300 walking door to door for the family.

"I love them... you know. Keep it together. God's got your back," said Warren.

"This whole area loves them and we're praying for them," said Blanke.

Florence police expect to release more information about the ongoing investigation Monday. If you would like to help the family during this difficult time you can find their GoFundMe page here.