Victims of deadly Feltonville fire remembered

January 14, 2011 3:36:50 PM PST
Family and friends of a mother and three children killed in a Philadelphia fire this week continue to mourn their loss.

Rahseeda Wilson and her family died in the blaze on Thursday in the Feltonville section of the city. The fire broke out around 1:30 Thursday morning in the 4800 block of North Palethorpe Street.

Classmates of the three children who died here have been coming by the scene to leave teddy bears and other tributes.

Eddie Abath lost his friend, 8-year-old Shanai.

"He asks me questions and we try to explain what happened to him, but it's kind of hard," said his mother Alexandra.

Shanai's second grade classmates at the Clara Barton school signed a poster with her picture, expressing their grief and friendship. Their teacher, Megan Staff, placed it at the memorial.

"Taking it pretty tough. I had a few kids who were absent today due to not being able to cope with what has happened," said Staff.

11-year old Minyan was a 6th grader at Feltonville Intermediate. Her 5th grade teacher, Ophelia Hayes-Wilkerson, remembers a girl who made everyone happy to be around her.

"Great personality. I would recognize her as being just a big teddy bear. She had a quiet spirit, she's very unique. She's going to be missed," said Hayes-Wilkerson.

Shanai, Minyan and there 14-year-old brother Jamar died in the burning house along with their mother.

Firefighters were met with a fierce wall of flames that incinerated everything in the house.

Neighbors on either side, who were also burned out, returned on Friday to retrieve some belongings and to assess the damage.

The houses can be repaired, but the scars will remain, especially for the children and those who cared for them.

"She was happy. A very caring and loving little girl," said Hayes-Wilkerson.

Family and friends were gathering Friday night for a candlelight vigil to remember the family.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, though investigators have said it started on the first floor of the house.