Fu­ner­als held for 4 chil­dren killed in day care fire

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - Associated Press

ERIE — Res­i­dents of a Penn­syl­va­nia city gath­ered to mourn and re­mem­ber four of the five chil­dren who died when fire swept through a home child care cen­ter.

A fu­neral ser­vice was held Satur­day in Erie for 8-year-old La'My­hia Jones, 6-yearold Luther Jones Jr., 4-year-old Ava Jones and 9-month-old Jay­dan Au­gusty­niak. All are sib­lings.

The fu­neral for 2-year-old Dalvin Pa­cley will be held Mon­day.

Three of the vic­tims were the chil­dren of a vol­un­teer fire­fighter, Luther Jones. Their mother, Shevona Over­ton, is also the mother of Jay­dan.

An adult and two ado­les­cent boys were able to es­cape. Fire of­fi­cials sus­pect last Sun­day's blaze was ac­ci­den­tal and pos­si­bly elec­tri­cal.

“There are things that hap­pen in this life that take years to un­der­stand. There are things that hap­pen in this life that we will never un­der­stand,” said Mayor Joe Schem­ber. “Why are bright, beau­ti­ful chil­dren taken away from us in a tragic ac­ci­dent in the mid­dle of the night?”

The most im­por­tant les­son from such a tragedy, Schem­ber said, “is to re­ally value and trea­sure the rel­a­tives and friends that are still with us.” And, he said, “only a strong be­lief in God can help us hu­mans through a loss like this.”

The Rev. Charles Mock of Com­mu­nity Bap­tist Church drew an ova­tion as he urged the com­mu­nity that had come to­gether “Don't stop now.”

“Don't stop the kisses, don't stop the hugs, don't stop the warm em­braces, don't stop the com­ing to­gether, don't stop the part­ner­ships that have come out of five chil­dren who have gone into heaven,” he said.

The Rev. La­mont Hig­gin­bot­tom Sr. of Se­cond Bap­tist Church said chil­dren are born “with­out the sting of hate in their heart” and their loss “seems to rob the com­mu­nity of speech.”

Draw­ing from the bi­b­li­cal story of Job, he said “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away” but “blessed be the name of the Lord.”

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