SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A memorial service was held at Century Center on Monday for the six children (Angel, Davida, Demetris, Deontay, D’Angelo and Faith Smith) who died in a South Bend house fire two weeks ago.
Visitation began at 10a.m. followed by the service at noon, immediately followed by a private burial.
The service was filled with multiple speakers from community Bishops to the South Bend Mayor James Mueller and the South Bend Fire Chief Carl Buchanon.
Mayor Mueller said during his speech, “It’s hard for us to even fathom how this can happen, why this can happen. We all want answers for what happened, how this could be prevented so that it never happens again. Hopefully we will get those answers in the coming days but there is going to be no answer that is adequate when you lose children and have their lives cut far, far too short.” He would reassure that crowd at the end of his speech to be kind, loving, and that the community will get through it.
The service inside of Century Center featured a picture of each child displayed at the front of the room with flowers surrounding it.
Community Leader Lynn Coleman, leader of the “Let’s Turn It Around” movement in South Bend spoke saying that while the children were being referred to as the Smith 6, he would refer to them as the “Phenomenal 6” stating, “For as long as we’ve done this in this community and tried to work, help, and serve. They’ve done things in their short lifespan that many of us have been working at for year and been unable to do.” Coleman followed up saying, “They’ve connected people that would have never talked with each other. They’ve caused people to come together to say what can I do to help. Not only say it, but to do it.”
The service began and ended with prayer before being dismissed for the private burial.
It happened in late January on North LaPorte Avenue. Firefighters arrived to find the house’s first and second story had been engulfed in flames. While firefighters were able to remove all six children from the home, five died at the scene while a sixth was airlifted to Memorial Hospital before being transported to a burn center in Indianapolis. That sixth child, 11 year-old Angel Smith eventually died as well. The children’s father was able to escape with only minor injuries.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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