BALTIMORE (WJZ)– It was a somber farewell to the five family members killed in a house fire in Northeast Baltimore. A grandmother and four of her grandchildren died in the flames.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the emotional service.

The investigation into the fire continues as family members try to move on after the tragedy triggered heartbreak throughout the city.

People with heavy hearts walked into Mount Pleasant Church and Ministries to say goodbye to a grandmother and her four grandchildren killed in a house fire a week ago.

“A loss like this affects the whole community,” Paulette Hendricks, a resident of Baltimore City, said.

The lives of 55-year-old Nancy Worrell, 7-year-old Tykia Manley, 4-year-old Darryl Stewart, his sister K’niyah Scott and 1-year-old James Holden Jr. were honored.

“We just want to give it all to God and turn it over and pray that the family gets some type of comfort,” Cheryl Mack, a friend of the family, said.

Family members read poems to express their heartbreak and gratitude.

“It’s so hard to say goodbye, every day I sit and cry, wondering why and how this could be, that my mom, nieces and nephews were taken away so suddenly.”

It was just before 3 a.m. last Thursday. The family was sleeping, no idea an inferno was quickly building in the basement.

“I can’t get the picture of the flames out of my mind. I mean, the picture was, the whole house was just in a blaze,” Brandon Jones, a witness, said.

The mother of two of the deceased children would toss their infant sibling out the window, a decision that saved his life.

Their grandfather would jump out of the home, breaking a bone in his back. But Worrell, a devoted grandmother, would stay inside desperate to get her four grandchildren out. They would all tragically die in a back bedroom.

This tragic incident triggered a number of emotions throughout the community, even breaking the heart of the city’s mayor.

“My mom’s in the hospital, so when you get a call… excuse me,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

Rawlings-Blake filled with emotion as she tried to encourage family and friends.

“So you know that in those times, you can still call on her, and if all else fails, call on the Lord,” she said.

It’s a  story of loss and survival, a reminder to treasure life as the youngest sometimes have to learn what it means to say goodbye.

Fire investigators have not determined a cause of the fire.

The grandfather who jumped for his life remains in the hospital.


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