Philadelphia fire: Funeral services at Liacouras Center held for Fairmount fire victims


PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – Mourners gathered Monday for the funeral services of nine children and three adults who died in a fire in Philadelphia five days into the new year, the city’s deadliest blaze in more than ten years. ‘a century.

A funeral procession through the city’s sodden streets on Monday morning was followed by services at Temple University’s Liacouras Center, to which community members were invited and asked to wear white.

Attendees at the three-hour service listened to Bible readings, official proclamations and music. Relatives spoke of their loss and their memories of loved ones from two microphones behind tables bearing coffins amid white flowers and large photos of the victims.

“None of us know what to do with a funeral with 12 people,” said Reverend Dr. Alyn Waller of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. “We are in a space of grief and pain that we wouldn’t wish on anyone else.”

One speaker, an aunt of the children, tearfully said she believed there was “a family reunion in heaven”.

“I believe they are with their father. I believe they are with my mother. I believe they are with my father, their uncles and aunts,” she said. “The wound is deep but it will fade.”

The victims of the January 5 fire were all on the third floor of a duplex in Fairmount near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The three-story brick duplex was owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, which is the city’s public housing agency and the state’s largest landlord.

Three sisters – Rosalee McDonald, 33, Virginia Thomas, 30 and Quinsha White, 18 – and nine of their children died in the fire, according to family members. The city last week identified the other victims as Quintien Tate-McDonald, 16, Destiny McDonald, 15, Dekwan Robinson, 8, J’Kwon Robinson, 5, Taniesha Robinson, 3, Tiffany Robinson, 2 years, Shaniece Wayne, 10 years, Natasha Wayne. , 7, and Janiyah Roberts, 4.

Investigators confirmed last week that it started at a Christmas tree, but did not officially say it was started by a child playing with a lighter.

SEE ALSO: Fairmount ‘almost certain’ fire started when Christmas tree caught fire, Philadelphia officials say

The blaze had been the deadliest in years in a US residential building, but was surpassed days later by a blaze in a skyscraper in New York’s Bronx neighborhood that killed 17 people, including several children.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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