Memorial for six Smith children
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- There was a warm feeling inside the Century Center as community members gathered to honor the six children who tragically lost their lives in the fire on LaPorte avenue on Jan. 21.
The children, now known as the “Smith six", are forever embedded in our community. Danny Bradley and Jacqui Darby, the children’s cousins, have affectionately dubbed them the “Magnific six” for their heroism that day.
“I appreciate the people showing up, showing their support, it's all love here you know," said Bradley.
Chief Buchanon’s heart is heavy this morning.
But he's prouder than ever to be a South Bend native, giving thanks to those brave first responders who put their lives on the line that day to save those children.
“So, let your hearts not be weary, for these children are with God” said Buchanon.
South bend Common Council President Sharon McBride expressing her heartfelt sorrow, saying these kids were taken from us far too soon, sharing in grief with the Smith family.
“Losing one child is an unimaginable pain, that no parent should have to endure, the loss of six innocent children in the deadliest fire that the city has seen in a century unexpectedly and tragically is beyond words," said McBride.
The principal of Madison Steam Academy, Amanda Choinacky, sharing fond memories of having Davida and Demetris in class. Especially Demetris's magnetic smile.
“Not only did Demetris have a sweet spirit like Davida, but he also cared about the people around him, in education it is not uncommon to hear it takes a village, well today it is clear that we are each other villages during this devastating time," said Choinacky.
Lynn Coleman, a community leader, referred to those kids as "the Phenomenal six” saying they've accomplished something in their short lives some people never get to do bring people together.
“They've connected people that would've never talked to each other, they caused people to come together to say what can I do to help, but not only to say it, but to do it," said Coleman.
A private burial with family was held after the memorial.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.