Memorial held for children killed in Fairfield fire

May 2, 2010 7:16:17 PM PDT
Dozens of family members and friends of four children who died in a tragic fire caused by an unattended candle at a Fairfield apartment Wednesday gathered for a memorial outside the home Sunday.

Robert Charles Jr., 4; Nevaeh Nunn and Natalie Rogers, both 2; and Keviana Morgan, 1, were killed in the blaze at 728 Delaware St. at about 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Their mothers, 24-year-old Shetarra James and 23-year-old Latisha James, were outside the one-story fourplex apartment when the fire started. The children had been inside, along with several candles burning on top of a TV set.

"My heart goes out to all of them," Don Morgan, the great-grandfather of Keviana, said of the kids at the memorial today. "It's been really hard. We've received a lot of support from total strangers."

Keviana's father and Don Morgan's grandson Kevin Morgan was killed in a shooting in February 2008 before Keviana was born. Don Morgan wore a white T-shirt today with pictures of his grandson.

"There's been so much death in our family in the past 15 years," he said. "Nobody can ever get used to death."

Still, he added, it's important to appreciate when the family comes together, even if the reason is tragic."

Today's memorial included a reclaiming ceremony in which Pastor Todd Bertani of St. Mark's Church aimed to restore the site of the home as a positive space.

"We do this to reclaim the site for peace in the midst of something awful," Bertani said.

For the past two years, the faith community has held a blessing at the location of a homicide in the city of Fairfield. Today's reclaiming was the first where the victims had not been murdered.

"This place where the tragedy occurred, we are reclaiming it as a place of life," Bertani said.

Bertani also brought a wooden staff with 16 ribbons attached.

Eleven of those ribbons were red and contained the name of a victim of homicide; a 12th was purple and held the name of a pregnant woman who had been murdered by her boyfriend. The other four ribbons, all white, contained the names of the four children who died in Wednesday's fire.

Fairfield Mayor Harry Price, Vice Mayor Chuck Timm and Councilmembers Catherine Moy and Rick Vaccaro also attended the memorial, along with Fairfield Fire Chief Vince Webster and Fairfield City Manager Sean Quinn.

Tenerese Nunn, 22, the father of Nevaeh Nunn, came to the memorial as well today and said he isn't blaming anybody for the fire, even though family members of Keviana have expressed anger.

Assistant Fire Marshal Jerry Clark said the residents had failed to pay their electric bill and the power had been shut off.

There were flammable items near the candle on the TV. Those items caught fire and the blaze spread rapidly, investigators said.

"This is life, this is nature," Tenerese Nunn said. "I should have been there," he added.


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