A 13-year-old Robinson Independent School District student died early Tuesday morning in a house fire in Hill County, officials said Wednesday.

Former Robinson Junior High School Principal Shelly Chudej said she knew the student well and was heartbroken when she heard about his death. She would not confirm the student's name but said the school is mourning the loss.

"He was a joy to be around and just a lovely young man," Chudej said. "He sang beautifully, he played tennis for us as a seventh-grader and he will be very, very, very missed at our campus and in our district."

Students and staff at Robinson Junior High were notified of the soon-to-be eighth-grade student's death Tuesday.

The boy was visiting overnight at a Hill County home outside Bynum, where the fire broke out at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Hill County Sheriff's Office Capt. Scott Robinson said. There were six people in the house at the time of the fire, and the boy was the only one unaccounted for when fire crews arrived, Robinson said.

Six Hill County volunteer fire departments responded to the call and battled the fire for four hours, he said. The Texas State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause. Hill County officials also declined to identify the boy.

Chudej, who is now Robinson Elementary School principal, said students who want to talk to a counselor or need other services should call Robinson Junior High School at 662-3843.

School officials are organizing fundraising efforts to meet the family's immediate needs. Anyone who wants to help the family can also call the junior high for more information.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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