Eight years ago our community lost five children within two weeks. Two were my students. One boy was killed in a bike/car accident. Less than two weeks later, my other student and her three siblings were killed in a house fire two days before Thanksgiving. I have never been to a sadder funeral, and our community reeled from the losses for a long time. That school year was marked with a constant mourning, our emotions rattled raw, healing coming slowly.
Yesterday, as I walked into my Mother’s house loaded with food for her Retirement Party, I learned of the roadblock and the raging house fire, and the news that five children were unaccounted for. Old losses came to the surface, scabs ripped off, and new wounds were added to the old. I took a choking breath, wrapped it up and tucked it away in the recesses of my heart, knowing that yesterday could not be the day to process this news. I could not, would not think of it.
Today, the news, even more devastating….six children died in the fire, aged 1 to 12. As we await confirmation of names and ages, I tuck it away in the recesses of my heart because still, today, I cannot, will not think of it.
The fire appears to have been caused by a faulty electrical outlet. It also has been reported that there was only one working smoke detector in the home, and that one was in the basement. Six out of seven siblings died in the fire, the seventh was sleeping over at a friend’s house. I’d like to think God has saved her for some special purpose, but how does a soul go on here on earth after losing all of their siblings? Dad and Mom survived with severe burns, and Mom remains in critical condition. I don’t know whether to pray for her healing or to pray for God to take her home, so I simply say, “Help her.”
Firefighters are urging everyone to install smoke detectors in every bedroom, and at least one more on each floor. If you haven’t already, please do.