EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – The five young brothers and sisters who were killed in a fire two weeks ago will be laid to rest this weekend as the community is coming together to honor the young victims.
The fire happened in an apartment building located in the 500 block of 29th Street in East St. Louis, Illinois Aug. 6. It started after the mother of the five children went to pick up another adult from work, according to the East St. Louis Fire Department.
When she returned home, the mother tried to get the children out herself, but she was unsuccessful. The fire started at about 3:45 a.m. It is unclear if the building had working smoke alarms.
The fire is under investigation by the Illinois State Fire Marshal and the Illinois State Police Department.
Family members bid farewell Saturday at Greater St. Mark Church of God and Christ. Serenity Memorial Chapel Funeral Director Walter Taylor says the community is planning a very special service to honor the young bright and beautiful children who will be missed dearly.
“There is always a lot of grief and a lot of emotions the family is going through,” Taylor said. “We are taking the approach we have learned something about what their likes are, toys they played with, games they played, and we will have that in the service design.”
The five siblings were Deontay Davis, Jr., 9, twins Heaven and Nevaeh, 8, Jabari Johnson, 4, and Loyal Dunigan, 2.
Visitation will be Saturday, Aug. 21, Greater St. Marks Church of God and Christ from 9 a.m. to noon with funeral services to follow. The church is located at 4325 State Street in East St. Louis, Illinois.
“We focus on the family, the parents, and try and help them through this tragedy,“ Taylor said.
A memorial of balloons and stuffed animals created in the children’s honor continues to grow outside the apartment where the tragedy happened.
The victims will be remembered for being bright young kids whose smiles would light up any room and were loved by all.
Taylor says he’s grateful the community has rallied behind the victim’s family showing love and support and pulled together to make sure the funeral services were paid in full.
“When this occurred, our partners and business owners reached out to us and asked if they could support all of the funding for the services, and the burial was donated by business people,” Taylor said.