Church does its best to con­sole griev­ing granny

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BY JOHN RABY

CHARLESTON, W.VA. | As Talma Is­abell coped with the crush­ing heartache of los­ing her daugh­ter and five grand­chil­dren in a house fire that killed nine peo­ple in all, sev­eral dozen peo­ple sur­rounded the woman and her fam­ily at church Sun­day with their arms raised and their heads bowed in prayer.

Seven chil­dren and two adults died in the Satur­day morn­ing blaze in Charleston, about 11 miles east of the church. Is­abell’s daugh­ter, Alisha Carter-camp, had cel­e­brated her 26th birth­day at the home the night be­fore her death.

Ms. Is­abell and sev­eral rel­a­tives gath­ered at Maranatha Fel­low­ship Church in St. Al­bans, W.VA., on Sun­day, get­ting hugs and pray­ers from fel­low wor­ship­pers. Just a few hours be­fore, the fire claimed its ninth vic­tim, a 7-year-old boy who died af­ter be­ing re­moved from life sup­port at a hospi­tal.

The Rev. Dar­ren Pow­ell de­scribed how he went to the hospi­tal a few hours af­ter the fire to be with Ms. Is­abell. There was lit­tle he could do or say, but he told her he wanted to let her know the fam­ily was in the church’s pray­ers.

“She said, ‘ Pas­tor, I’m stand­ing on my foun­da­tion, Je­sus Christ,’ ” Mr. Pow­ell said. “I’m telling you, I went there try­ing to be a help and en­cour­age­ment, and in­stead, she en­cour­aged me.”

Mr. Pow­ell then thanked Ms. Is­abell for her strength, courage and faith.

“In the midst of tragedy and tur­moil, you are be­ing a great wit­ness for your king and your Lord and Sav­ior, Je­sus Christ,” Mr. Pow­ell said.

Mr. Pow­ell also asked parish­ioners for do­na­tions to help with fu­neral costs. And at the Charleston ho­tel where Ms. Carter-camp worked at the front desk for six months, ho­tel ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant Kathy Mullins said do­na­tions are be­ing col­lected that will be given to the fam­ily.

The blaze tore through the two-story home hours af­ter the last guest had left Ms. Carter-camp’s birth­day party.

Ja­son Baus­ley said Ms. Carter-camp was his niece and that she rented the home. Her sis­ter, Latasha Jones Is­abell, lived there along with the sis­ters’ chil­dren. The cause re­mains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Po­lice re­leased the names of the vic­tims Satur­day but didn’t know how they were re­lated. On Sun­day, Mr. Baus­ley iden­ti­fied the vic­tims as Ms. Carter-camp and two of her chil­dren, Keahna Camp, 8; and Jeremiah Camp, 3; Ms. Carter-camp’s boyfriend, Alex Seal, age un­known; and Mr. Seal’s 3-year-old daugh­ters, Kiki and Gigi. Also killed were Latasha Is­abell’s chil­dren, Eli­jah Scott, 3, and Emanuel Jones, 18 months, Mr. Baus­ley said.

There was more rea­son to grieve Sun­day when Ms. Carter-camp’s 7-year-old son, Bryan Ti­mothy Camp, was re­moved from life sup­port Sun­day morn­ing, Charleston Po­lice Sgt. Bobby Eg­gle­ton said.

On Sun­day, po­lice tape still cor­doned off two streets out­side the home, while two pa­trol cars kept watch and in­ves­ti­ga­tors looked through the house.

Stu­dents from an el­e­men­tary school at­tended by some of the vic­tims put up a blue sign on the fence out­side the home that reads: “Gone But Not For­got­ten.”

Across the street, four stuffed toys were lined up along the side­walk out­side the ad­ja­cent home of a baby sit­ter. is fac­ing a mur­der trial.

Adam Joseph Lon­go­ria is ac­cused of killing Ali­cia DeBolt in Au­gust 2010, then leav­ing her body at an as­phalt plant where he worked.

Prose­cu­tors say Mr. Lon­go­ria, 38, be­came ob­sessed with Ali­cia af­ter see­ing her at a party. In­ves­ti­ga­tors have hun­dreds of text mes­sages be­tween the two and sur­veil­lance pho­tos from the store where Mr. Lon­go­ria bought gas the night Ali­cia dis­ap­peared.

Mr. Lon­go­ria de­nies the charges, claim­ing he never saw Ali­cia that night.

His trial be­gins Mon­day. At­tor­neys will face a daunt­ing task of find­ing ju­rors who haven’t heard about the case. De­fense at­tor­ney un­suc­cess­fully tried to get the trial moved out of Bar­ton County.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In­ves­ti­ga­tors sift through de­bris of a house in Charleston, W.VA., where nine peo­ple were killed in a fire early Satur­day. Charleston As­sis­tant Fire Chief Bob Sharp said the fire ap­pears to have started in the mid­dle of the home’s main level.

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