A volunteer firefighter has lost three of his young children in a horrific US daycare centre fire, while he attended a false alarm call close by. Luther Jones’ two daughters and a son were three of the five children who tragically died in the blaze.
Tributes are flowing in on social media for Jones and all of the families affected, after the fire broke out at the daycare centre in the town of Erie, northern Pennsylvania, in the early hours of Sunday (local time). Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department have now set up a funding page to help support their colleague, writing on Facebook: “The Lawrence Park Fire Department has established a specified fund / account for benevolent financial contributions for the family of our firefighter Luther Jones.”
Appearing on local TV station WICU, Chief Joe Crotty of the Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department offered his condolences and confirmed that Jones had lost his three children, saying: “Our firefighter Luther Jones, three of his children perished in that fire… Unthinkable, like I say it’s really beyond comprehension.”
The TV station also explained that Jones had been attending a call-out close by when the fire broke out, but that turned out to be a malfunctioning alarm. While no formal identifications have yet been made, Erie Fire Department confirmed the children caught in the fire were aged from eight months to seven years old.
Meanwhile Erie Firefighters’ local president Len Trott said in a statement online: “First and foremost, we would like to offer our deepest sympathies to all affected by the tragic fire on West 11th Street, it is simply an unbearable loss for the families and for our community. We would like to thank all agencies who assisted the Erie Fire Department.
“Call takers, dispatchers, medics, police officers, and firefighters all worked together as a team to try to save these beautiful children. We have received so many messages of support from throughout the country and we just wanted to say thank you all for your kind words.
“This tragedy will linger in the memory of all involved for the rest of their lives, we can only hope that the community can someday heal and having the support from you all means more than we can say.”
Trott added that all the firefighters working on the scene are being cared for now with counselling available for them, as well as constant support from the community.
“You hope that calls like this never happen, but unfortunately they do. We will continue to do our jobs, continue to help people in need, and we will never forget the children lost in this devastating fire,” he added.
The mother of one of the boys, two-year-old Dalvin Pacley, who sadly perished has since held a vigil for her son. Karina Facchiano shared a series of heartbreaking posts on Facebook following the news, while also appearing to set up a funding page with the message.
“Raising money for the burial of my son Dalvin Pacley whom was in Sunday’s fire at 1248 West 11th st Erie, PA,” she wrote. “All money that is raised will be used to cover funeral expenses. Thank you.”
The mother of the other four children, Shevona Overton, has also shared a series of posts about her young kids on Facebook, admitting: “I can’t take this pain no more my babys.” She added in another post: “I just want my babys man.”