Funeral services were held for the family who tragically died in a Philadelphia house fire on Jan. 5. The family of 12 was laid to rest on Jan. 16 at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church after the service at Temple University’s Liacouras Center.
The fire began on the third floor of a rowhouse building owned by the city’s public housing agency, the Philadelphia Housing Authority.
The family’s Christmas tree caught fire and killed 12 members of the family after several fire detectors failed to go off inside the home. An alarm in the basement went off, but it was too late, and there was only one exit.
A five-year-old boy who escaped the inferno noted that he had been playing with a lighter, but the details were unclear. Rev. Alyn Waller said that the community was grieving the news of so many lives being lost tragically.
“None of us know what to do with a funeral with 12 people,” said Rev. Waller. “We’re in a space of grief and pain we wish on no one else.”
Three sisters passed away in the fire — Rosalee McDonald, Virginia Thomas and Quinsha White.
Nine children also passed away, including brother and sister Destiny, 14, and Quintien Tate-McDonald, 16, and their cousins Dekwan Robinson, J’Kwon Robinson, Taniesha Robinson, Tiffany Robinson, Shaniece Wayne, Natasha Wayne and Janiyah Roberts.
The public funeral lasted for three hours and was attended by many people in the community who were saddened by the tragic event. The Philadelphia Inquirer posted footage of the service of Twitter.
“In an extraordinary public display of grief, hundreds gathered at Temple University to mourn the 12 family members who died in the Fairmount rowhouse fire. Video by @lschneiderman_.”
In an extraordinary public display of grief, hundreds gathered at Temple University to mourn the 12 family members who died in the Fairmount rowhouse fire. Video by @lschneiderman_ pic.twitter.com/7ghW9o4J84
— The Philadelphia Inquirer (@PhillyInquirer) January 18, 2022
BTW the gofundme for the family that lost 12 people in Philadelphia hasn’t reached its goal yet! https://t.co/j6vZs44CK6
— follow @akqproductions on IG (@FineNFilm) January 10, 2022
A GoFundMe was set up to help the family with expenses, which has reached $329,204 so far.
“On Wednesday, January 5, 2022, our family experienced a terrible tragedy,” read a statement. “A house fire tragically took twelve of our loved ones from us. Today, we are asking for help to assist the parents/grandparents with final arrangements.”“This has devastated our entire family and we are humbly asking our community for assistance. We are appreciative of any support and prayers extended to our family as we deal with this overwhelming loss. This fundraiser has been authorized by the Parents/Grandparents of the deceased.”