Hundreds mourn children killed in house fire

wcrenshaw@macon.comMarch 2, 2013 

Hundreds of people filled Central Church of Christ on Saturday for the funeral of three children killed in a house fire.

The coffins of the three siblings -- Nykhiya Williams, 10; Jamarrian Williams, 9; and Daija Williams, 7 -- sat in front of the packed church as speakers offered words of comfort to the family.

“In life, there are some things you cannot get your mind around,” said Pastor Rolston Mondaizie, who officiated the service. “There’s a ‘Why?’ that never gets answered. So we have to put trust in God in what we do, that all things work for good for those who love God.”

The children were sleeping in a shared bed in their home on Feb. 23 when the fire started. Their mother, Colethia Williams, said she left to go to a nearby store to get sinus medicine and was gone only about 15 minutes when she got a call that her house was on fire. Emergency responders got the children out of the house but couldn’t resuscitate them. Their 3-year-old little brother, however, was treated for smoke inhalation and survived.

The three who died all attended Riley Elementary School. Many teachers and staff members attended the service, and Principal Ken Sparks spoke. He said sometimes it’s the students who do the teaching in school.

“In their passing and in their life, they have given us several gifts,” he said. “They have taught us to cherish every moment that we have with our students. They have taught us to cherish every moment we have with our own children.”

While the cause of death has not been officially determined, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said he believes it likely to be smoke inhalation. He also said the surviving child, J’lon Williams, is doing well and returned home from the hospital Wednesday after initially being listed in critical condition.

Jones, who attended the service, said he was impressed with the large turnout and outpouring of support for the family from throughout the city.

“This is a community that will come together in a time of struggle,” he said. “This community has come together for this family.”

The home that burned is located on James Street off Log Cabin Drive. The cause has not been determined but it has been ruled accidental.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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