Two New Jersey schools are helping students and staff cope with sudden deaths that took two lives over the weekend.

A 4-year-old boy who was a student at the Pemberton Early Childhood Education Center in the Pembertown Township school district shot himself in the head with an unsecured firearm inside his home on Friday night, according to Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina. He was taken to a hospital and died, Coffina said.

"We recognize the impact this tragedy has on students, staff, parents and community, and immediately mobilized our crisis team to respond to their needs," the district wrote on its website.

The boy has been identified on a GoFundMe page as Lincoln Mack. He was remembered on the page as a a "sweet and happy little boy" who loved his family, dogs and fish. Funds raised by the page will go toward funeral expenses and an education fund for his brother and sister, according to the page's organizer.

Sara Trahey was killed February 2020 in a house fire. (Sara Trahey via Facebook)
Sara Trahey was killed February 2020 in a house fire. (Sara Trahey via Facebook)

The Lakewood School District is dealing with the death of librarian Sara Trahey in a fire at her Toms River home on Friday night. Trahey was a librarian at the Ella G. Clarke School.

Fire erupted at her home on 15th Street in the Silverton section of Toms River on Friday night and quickly spread to four neighboring houses because of high winds, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer. Husband Jeff Trahey and the couple's three children, ages 2, 7 and 9, were able to escape the flames whipped by gusty winds.

Billhimer on Monday said the post-mortem examination of Trahey's body determined that the manner of death was accidental and the cause of death was smoke inhalation and fire related injuries.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help with funeral expenses and the immediate needs of the family.

Lakewood school superintendent Laura Winters said in a letter on the district website counselors would be available for students and faculty on Monday.

"For some students a death of someone they know may remind them of some other loss in their lives. For others, this may be their first encounter with death," Winters wrote.

Winters offered some behaviors children may display in reaction to a traumatic incident including:

● Cling closely to adults
● Display regressive behaviors
● Appear not to be affected
● Think about it privately
● Ask a lot of questions
● Appear frightened
● Appear agitated and angry
● Appear sad and withdrawn
● Display difficulty sleeping
● Stomach aches and/or headaches

Funeral arrangements for both Mack and Trahey have not been announced as of Monday morning.

Fire scene on 15th Street in Toms River
Fire scene on 15th Street in Toms River (Silverton Volunteer Fire Company)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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